My Global Mind
8/11/18 – Caustic Casanova is a band that was definitely high on our need to see list. They come highly rated by some of our fest friends, and they know what they’re talking about down there. This is one band that lived up to the hype for us. They have a great sound and know how to command the stage. This DC band crushed the fans and drove the hard set they performed through the crowd. FRANCIS BERINGER (Bass, Vocals), STEFANIE ZAENKER (Drums, Percussion, Vocals) and ANDREW YONKI (guitar) ripped up the Cafe 611 stage. We grabbed a couple LP’s before they were gone and have them on steady rotation in the list. Make sure you get out and see them whenever you might have a chance. They rock!
Taken from a show review of the Maryland Doom Fest Day 3 2018 by Pam and Mark Schaff
6/24/18 – I knew Caustic Casanova were underrated, and seeing them for the first time, I guess I was interested to find out if I could find a reason why. Their sound is certainly accessible enough; the Washington, D.C./Frederick trio play a style of heavy rock that in part feels drawn from ’90s college/art rock weirdoism and part drawn from a desire to mash that against sonic pummel and punker drive, but they’re also a thoughtful band. Each part has its purpose, and even in their delivery live, there was a sense of focus that pervaded what they were doing. It was fun to watch, definitely, but there was a strong intent there — nothing felt like an accident, however experimental it may have been in the composition. One knows they’re Melvins fans because they did a cover of “Cow” on their latest 7″, but their style has much more to it than just post-Buzzo riffing and tryhard avant gardeship so often resulting from that influence. And if Caustic Casanova are underrated, the reason is precisely because they’re not easy to pin down. They’re a dynamic, complex trio given to deft rhythmic turns and an indie aspect to complement/contrast their heavier elements, and they don’t fit into any single genre tag necessarily beyond the blanket “progressive heavy rock,” which is a pale descriptor for the actual depth of character in the music they make.
Taken from a show review of the Maryland Doom Fest Day 3 2018 by JJ Koczan.
Creative Loafing Tampa
6/10/18 – Washington D.C. psych-rock trio Caustic Casanova drops into a beloved downtown Tampa dive to play songs from its 2017 release, Pantheon: Volume 2, which is the second of a series of 7-inch records that find the band playing an original on the A-side and covering another artist on the B-side. Vol. 2 features a reimagined take on an old Caustic Casanova song (“Lord Pinto”) and the boys’ own take on “Cow” by The Melvins. Listen to both via cltampa.com/music and then bring a little extra money to buy more drinks at this no-cover affair.
Taken from a show preview of the June 10th, 2018 show at The Hub in Tampa, FL by Ray Roa.
3/13/18 – Caustic Casanova is from Washington DC and plays some really catchy stoner jams and they’re the perfect opener for this show.
Taken from a show preview of the March 16th, 2018 show at Oliver Brewing in Baltimore, MD by Chris Birch.
11/7/2017 – Lengthy interview of Caustic Casanova by Dan Kadison
10/5/2017 – Imagine the musical intensity of Rated R paired with the girl-boy harmonies of Surfer Rosa. Neil Peart-inspired drum fills (but in a good way, yo!), driving fuzz bass and lilting vocal melodies rumble-tumble forward, like a barreling freight train verging on derailment. Yes, Caustic Casanova play proper rock ’n’ roll, then. And it’s hard to believe only three people (and that delay peddle [sic]) can create such ruckus. Hailing from DC’s mighty post-punk scene, and with songs like “I Hate Everyone I Want to Like” and “Short Commute, Live Forever,” Pavement and The Dismemberment Plan are reference points. And just like them, CC’s lyrics betray a sharp, sardonic wit…At least they know how to drown out their ugly neighbor, Hair Fuhrer. With Dayak and Carbon Canyon on Monday, Oct. 9. Club Congress, 311 E. Congress. Doors: 7 p.m. Free. 21+.
Taken from a show preview of the October 9th, 2017 show at Club Congress in Tucson, AZ
Atlas and Anchor
9/28/17 – The Washington, D.C. based heavy rock band Caustic Casanova is set to open their Fall tour in Dayton on Saturday 9/30 at Blind Bob’s alongside tour mates Irata and like-minded locals Close The Hatch and Floodwalker.
The trio consists of guitarist Andrew Yonki, vocalist/bassist Francis Beringer and drummer Stefanie Zaenker and they create an abrasive, sludgy and psychedelic brand of punk and hardcore-inspired noise-rock that recalls the Melvins, whom they cover on their most recent release, Pantheon Vol.2, a 2-song 7”. The second in the “Pantheon” series of 7 inches was recorded by the legendary J. Robbins and features an original song on the A side – a re-imagining of a 2006 Caustic Casanova song, “Lord Pinto” – as well as artwork paying tribute to the band being covered, in this case the Melvins and their 1991 classic, “Cow”. To make it their own, the band added in warped theremin to flesh out the original’s thunderous drum-heavy ending.
Stream Pantheon Vol. 2 here then get your faces melted at Blind Bob’s on Saturday!
Taken from an album review and show preview of the September 30th, 2017 show in Dayton, OH
9/15/17 – At one time, the nation’s capital was a hot bed for ground breaking bands like Bad Brains, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Slant 6, and my personal favorite—Jawbox. Although D.C. isn’t what it used to be, there are still bands to come out of the streets and garages that will catch your ear.
In 2005, Stefanie Zaenker (drums, vocals) and Francis Beringer (bass, vocals) came together at the College of William and Mary to form Caustic Casanova and the band had quite a run recording singles and Eps in addition to touring. When original guitarist left the band, the band continued as a duo until eventually finding Andrew Yonki to fill the guitar spot.
That was four years ago and since then the band has forged a heavier, more experimental direction, which has been displayed in their explosive live sets, on a full-length album (‘Breaks’) and a 7-inch (‘Pantheon: Vol 1’).
Caustic Casanova recently released another 7-inch ‘Pantheon: Vol 2’ with the driving original “Lord Pinto.” The track gives you nearly a minute of fuzzed-out feedback over a rolling bass line before kicking into a driving rhythm wall of sound. The guitar tone is brilliant as the drums crash and wail in the background for nearly five minutes. On the flip side, the band pays tribute to one of their favorite bands— Melvins with a cover of “Cow.” The song is a bombastic blast of guitar, bass and drums with vocal freak-outs. The song is a thing of beauty, I am sure the Melvins would be proud of.
I can’t say if Caustic Casanova will have the lasting impression as the other D.C. legends, but they certainly have their shit together with a killer sound.
Review of Pantheon: Vol. 2 by Troy Michael HERE
9/14/2017 – Washington DC’s Caustic Casanova is hard rock, but with an arty, literary twist: part sludgy stoner metal, part Talking Heads. See them alongside local headbangers Dayak and Carbon Canyon!
Taken from a preview of the October 9, 2017 show at Club Congress in Tucson, AZ
9/13/2017 – One new song and a Melvins cover is about all the excuse Caustic Casanova need to hit the road on a tour that will take the Washington D.C. natives through the Midwest and out along the West Coast starting at the end of this month. The new 7″ is titled Pantheon Vol. 2, and like its predecessor and the band’s 2015 debut long-player, Breaks (review here), it arrives via Retro Futurist Records. Caustic Casanova, whose injury-plagued story you can read below, have spent significant time on tour to back that J. Robbins-produced outing, and as we look ahead toward 2018 one can’t help but wonder if they won’t sooner or later settle into a recording process for a follow-up. Haven’t heard anything in that regard, but it’s worth keeping an eye out.
Taken from a 2017 tour preview in The Obelisk by JJ Koczan
The Sunday Experience
9/10/2017 – Is it me, or do these folk sound like they are having way too much fun? This be Caustic Casanova of whom I’m disappointed to admit, haven’t yet bothered our listening space thus far. This one comes ripped from a forthcoming 7-inch set entitled ‘pantheon vol. 2’ – a cover of the Melvins’ ‘cow’ no less, all grizzled, goofed out and gouged with the kind of bonged n’ stoned fuzz flippancy as to suggest that to many repeat listens might well cause an intensified happening of rapid beard and hair growth all brought on by its whacked out high school dropout fried beatnik boogie.
Taken from a single review of “Cow”
9/8/2017 – DC’s own ultra-heavies Caustic Casanova just released the radical 7″ Pantheon: Vol 2 via Retro Futurist Records that brings about some lead-weight riffs to rock your weekend/work-week proper. “Lord Pinto” on the a-side dazzles with cathartic rhythms & progressions to bring down the house, followed by a cover version of the Melvins’ “Cow” that maintains the chorus cadre of big ripping riffs that are guaranteed to whisk you away to awesome places in the mind & heart. Catch them on a self-booked tour happening throughout this fall.
Taken from a review of Pantheon: Vol. 2 by Sjimon Gompers
New Noise Magazine
9/7/2017 – New Noise Magazine is pleased to be bringing forth the Caustic Casanova cover of “Cow,” originally by the Melvins. With plenty of bombastic energy, Caustic Casanova take the song and spin it perfectly into another captured performance of the noisy track. Here, the band took the infamous drum solo and added their distorted guitars into a menacing beatdown, also adding a swirling guitar solo into the mix, giving the song a more frantic pace. Listen to the cover below, and be sure to tune into your punk aesthetic while doing so.
Taken from a track premiere of “Cow” by Sean Gonzalez
7/9/2017 – Openers Caustic Casanova wasted no time in tearing into my skull, with an instrumental sound laden with sludge and abrasive guitar screeching. They’re a three-piece band (guitar, bass and drums) from Washington D.C featuring dual vocals by bassist Francis Beringer and drummer Stefanie Zaenker. The quirky, ironic lyrics along with the near schizophrenic tempo changes and guitar phrasings of Andrew Yonki (great moustache!) reminded me of the Dead Kennedys. They were undoubtedly the most unique band of the night, and for every heavy stoner rock song segment they would unleash, there seemed to be a counterpoint moment of odd, trippy psychedelic-infused beauty. Keep an eye out for some new material in the very near future! And final applause to Francis Beringer for his wicked cool NBA jam t-shirt. Very badass.
Taken from a review of the July 9th, 2017 show in Montreal, QC with Cavern, Horseburner, and LAVAL by Lee Ferguson
10/14/2016 – Review of the September 30th, 2016 show in Boston, MA by Courtney Tharp
Teeth of the Divine
10/13/2016 – Nothing quite beats the feeling of seeing a band live (that you knew nothing about prior to the show) and getting your head completely beaten in with a wet mackerel. That was my experience with DC punk/doom/psychedelic rock trio Caustic Casanova. The band has a pretty extensive discography and they’ve been at it for a good chunk of years now. Their latest album Breaks has a fitting home on Kylesa’s rock-solid Retro Futurist label and you can hear the chops this power trio have been perfecting for over a decade. CC is louder than the lord’s thunder in person while bringing a raucous element of fun to their riffed-up and tripped-out blotter acid punk. They were gritty for damn sure on the live front yet possessed plenty of sunsoaked snark which illustrated that these cats are having a blast tearing stages apart on tour…always a plus when you can get that vibe to rub off on the audience.
Breaks is punishing though smoother than I expected; the production by J. Robbins on this Olympic head tossing champ is slick, clear and crisp. Dual vocals never get lost in the fury and despite an instrumental decathlon going down nobody’s tone is bullying the rest of the tones for lunch money. Musically speaking, this is some acrobatic shit…harder to nail down than pinning Jell-O to a fuckin’ tack board. Overall, it reminds me of the legendary X’s dark, brooding punk mixed with some classic DC chaos coupled to the tricky though heavily rockin’ prog circa Outer Limits-era Voivod, as taken over by the alien invasions of prime Hawkwind, only to eventually crashland into the thick smirking heaviness of early Torche and Floor’s S/T if Steve Brooks harvested his material from a NOLA swamp farm. That description really isn’t even the half of the band’s sound. There’s a “who gives a flying pig fuck” level of experimentalism to the songwriting here and it works in the Casanovas favor.
“Thundersnow” kicks off with warped feedback before running an electrified punk riff through a cheesegrater of dope huffin’ hazy hard rock. Drummer/vocalist Stefanie Zaenker hits like she’s got sledgehammers instead of drum sticks and peppers the material with punchy fills, careening the tempo into bassist/vocalist Francis Beringer’s heavy, flashy grooves. The end result is an opening of pure punk rock with a filthy rock edge and pop catchiness that wraps around new guitarist Andrew Yonki’s ephedrine blues riffs. Somebody goosed this stuff up on trucker’s speed for sure and the Zaenker/Beringer coalition provides an infectious, instantly memorable sing/shout hydra-headed attack that immediately carves the lyrics n’ melodies into your brain with an old stone arrowhead. Yonki grinds the riffing into a molten sludgy lava crawl giving the vocals room to soar amidst a sundering cyclone of psychedelic, head shrinking rhythm work that’s a split difference of unapologetically deep/heavy playing and crystalline, uplifting triumph. It’s like getting caught tripping on shrooms in a circle pit. A lengthy instrumental workout sees Stef bullrushing into manic roll overdrive full of precision, never-ending tom fluxes and bone-crunching snare fills that collide with Francis’ walking, progg-y bass lines. Andrew chooses to let the pair run off on their own as he constructs a tower of rising tide, My Bloody Valentine-esque glory. There is no doubt CC can jam in flurries of technically astounding complexity without losing vision of a song as a whole. They return to the tune’s main punk n’ roll curmudgeon before phasing into a slab of thick, mercurial 70s heavy blues.
To call by name every twist, turn n’ writhe in each track is a battle I’m not gonna win but I’ll die trying. “Show some Shame” is very reminiscent of the faster, peppier tunes on Torche’s Meanderthal. Beringer’s fathoms deep vocal melodies are certainly respectful of Steve’s sugary bellow but when Zaenker harmonizes with him on the chorus it adds an aggressive push/pull dynamic brimming with more nervous energy than even Torche usually musters up as this particular vocal duo delves into some angry shouting and engaging trade-off hooks that yield an individual identity. The music is also dirtier, grimier and stuffed to the gills with acidic 70s stoner riffage taking acidic punk swerves whilst shifting like the sands of NYC noise-rock. Rhythmically, things are combat-ready at all times; the bombastic drumming continually layering the beat with devious polyrhythms that place Stefanie in a realm that criss-crosses the stylistic change-ups of Ronnie Kalimon, Damon Che, Brendan Canty and Bill Bruford. The same goes for the bass lines which ride pocket punk/heavy rock grooves one minute then sail into Geddy Lee/Blacky waters the next. Andrew’s guitar prowess is also constantly shape-stealing like a chameleon from Hell…never content to allow his riffing to occupy a single style as he frequently transcends genres. Even the dueling vocals end with a killer resolution that goes from a Therapy?-chiseled, harmonious pop punk twitch to full on Neurosisian shouting during the song’s climax.
An ominous, soul-swallowing bass line drenches “Elect my Best Friend for a Better World” in doom syrup alongside delay n’ echo bombed guitar reverberations, lending the track a deceptive psychedelic visage that’s soon overthrown in a cultural sonic uproar of propulsive low-end growl, schizophrenic snare fills and sliding minor key guitar surgery. This track is rich in dramatic atmosphere with Zaenker providing short, punk-y exclamations of the song’s title with Beringer delivering authoritative spoken word. You never know what’s coming around the bend…the weird quirks reeking of Fugazi, the thought-provoking rhythmic interplay straight 70s prog, the frenetic pacing more in tune with Minor Threat, the demonic dirt-rock riffs resting somewhere between Kylesa’s To Walk a Middle Course and Akimbo’s stoner-noise classic City of the Stars… I can’t pin the band’s sound down still but I know it fuckin’ rocks. Even Andrew’s hard groovin’, centerpiece riff never stays quite the same in tone, volume or notation throughout the entire track and the threesome lays into a homerun of a lengthy instrumental closing that beats the ever lovin’ baseballs outta McGuire and Sosa put together.
Francis’ vocals take on a lower, throatier Elvis from the underworld personality on the stoner/punk sleaze of “Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues.” The guitar riffs are kissed with the poison lips of Joshua Homme (trace elements of Welcome to Sky Valley and the first QOTSA abound). It’s an intense jam swapping spritely trickiness for no frills, no nonsense heaviness that oddly sounds like it was written around “15 Men on a Dead Man’s Chest.” They hit a goldmine on the outro vocal mantra where the harmonies have a religious cult’s fervor to ‘em (I’ve been walking around the house singing, “We are the pure and chosen few, the rest of you are damned, there’s room enough in Hell for you, we don’t want Heaven crammed…”). If a DC punk band headlined a generator party in the Southwestern desert, Caustic Casanova would be THAT house band…at least on this cut.
“The Forgiveness Machine” is all about black hole bass vacuuming, wandering sludgy blues riffs that ain’t seen water in years and snare-driven death marches. It takes its time like a rattlesnake readying its fangs for unsuspecting prey as Francis narrates with commanding sung/shouted poetry atop the band’s sandy murder mesas. Never content to just travel one path, these crazies explore every possible route that the music can take; leading to a cathartic, uptempo doom riff cleaning house at 1:55 with every instrument breaking away from the laidback build-up. Prepping the scoreboard for the album’s closer, “No Sky July” introduces extensive clean instrumentation, Yonki’s improvisational space-rock licks (eschewing riffs at first for atmospheric warmth until exploding into heady doom riffs and a massive, heart-stopping solo later on), tribal percussion, freeform vocal flows, Middle Eastern modes molded for taking mescaline in the heart of a great pyramid and a purely 60s psychedelic spire stretching to the album’s forefront. Cutting through the dense drug fog are violent screaming shoves of vicious post-rock upheaval but leaping bass lines cut from a Claypool cloth spiral the ambience into towering riffs which constantly change speeds as the drumming embellishes progressive insanity ala Gentle Giant. The jamming here shows what a true jam band is capable of…fuck Phish with a ten foot fin; this is how you do it! Album ender “The Painted Desert” is composed with a similar psychedelic softness in mind but flies south, embracing heartbreaking blues and wayward twang. Submerging bass lines, endlessly roving beats and Gilmour-dipped guitar reflections are the perfect canvas for Beringer to utilize his colorful singing and yearning spoken prose in downward brushstrokes. Everything congeals for an atmosphere of heavy hopefulness that again doesn’t sound exactly like anything that came before on the album or exactly like any other bands that I can think of.
Breaks is an inspired piece of audio art. It excels not only as an attitude injected punk rock album but as a hefty platter of doom wielding hard rock, an instrumentally impressive lost 70s prog masterpiece, a late 60s/early 70s psych rock freakout, a brazen post-punk wall of majestic white noise, a landmark example of how you can combine metal’s ruthlessness with slick pop sensibilities and as a true heavy album that defies categorization. I’ll be seeing Caustic Casanova again live any chance I get and will be sure to buy as much as their discography as I can find based upon the sheer might of this sonic behemoth.
Review of Breaks by Jay Snyder HERE
10/10/2016 – Andrew Yonki on guitar, Stefanie Zaenker on drums/vocals and Francis Beringer on bass/lead vocals is Caustic Casanova, the heavy rock group from DC. Their passion for savage riffs and the pleasure they take in their craft was palpable throughout the packed bar venue, O’Briens in Allston, MA.
Beringer’s vocals, reminding me of Queens of the Stone Age, were forcefully spot-on as they resonated throughout the crowd and out onto a rainy Harvard Avenue. Zaenker’s percussion was crushing. She hammered out drum fills in response to Yonki’s oscillating riffs with loud authority which crowned the beautiful aural assault unleashed by CC. Anyone who’s witnessed Caustic firsthand has adamantly attested to how loud their music is, and CC certainly did not disappoint on this fall evening. Despite being on the tail end of a massive, 10-week, 56-show tour celebrating the release of Breaks, the trio had plenty of energy left to deliver a shocking, visceral performance.
Luckily, this show granted me the opportunity to witness one of my favorites from CC, “Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues.” The studio version is an interesting, heavy piece. A pleasant surprise, I somehow enjoyed the live version even more than the studio version. The sound at O’Briens was up to the task of cleanly blasting Beringer’s deafening, aggressive playing. Zaenker’s intense, echoing cry added an additional flavor to the already diverse medley of sounds. Three songs in, they played “Show Some Shame,” an excellent taste of Zaenker’s voice as she howls “We’re doomed, we are doomed!!”
Another facet of the show that made their set so captivating is that CC’s music firmly beckons you to head bang, pretty much from start to finish. The band used the variety of music in their wheelhouse to their advantage, giving the crowd songs that they didn’t even know they’d craved. Their last song of the night was a heavy, psychedelic track that was reminiscent of The Black Angels.
The intimate familiarity the three have with each other’s playing style has yielded a certain precision to their writing. Like an engineer tinkering with various parts of a machine, this meticulous precision was clear in their finished product. CC has a foot planted in several different genres. Variety and intricacy form a driving theme behind the group’s music; a big strength of CC is that they switch things up just enough to keep their tracks exciting and surprising without sounding manic or disjointed.
Having formed in 2005, the band has nearly broken up on two occasions, once after losing their original guitarist (which produced the serendipitous addition of Andrew Yonki) and again following a severe car accident involving Stefanie Zaenker. Like the phoenix that adorns the cover of their newest album, Breaks, Zaenker and Caustic Casanova have arisen stronger and louder than ever.
Taken from a review of the September 30th, 2016 show in Boston, MA by Matt Buonopane
9/21/2016 – There’s a line where musical repetition can go from being effective, hypnotic or hooky to annoying. The whole theme-and-variation idea can lead people to get carried away with the variation part of the equation or to take the restatement of an idea to mind-numbing extremes. (I could just keep repeating different iterations of my point and you’d either find it compelling or idiotic.) The Washington D.C.-based band Caustic Casanova have found an interesting solution to the problem. They have it both ways. Their music is riff-based, with phrases that demand to be played over many times to drive home their power, and yet the trio knows enough to keep tweaking the details so that sometimes when a pattern comes back around, a listener will realize that they’ve heard it, but something’s different about it.
Caustic Casanova play Greensboro on Sept. 22 at New York Pizza. I spoke to the band — all three of them — while they had a little downtime in Tampa Bay, Florida, following a show there. Caustic Casanova are heavy, with all the regular signposts of heaviness — with hulking bass lines, pounding drums, and frequently abrasive guitar textures. But the band — particularly guitarist Andrew Yonki — mix in some poppy post-punk with their sludge and prog-metal inclinations. One can hear Yonki’s fondness for guitarists like the Edge and Johnny Marr, with his tolling delay-heavy sound. The fact that the band can evoke the vibe of the Melvins, Rush and U2 within a couple of minutes without sounding stitched-together or disjointed is a testament to their skill and to the painstaking way the trio assembles their material.
The band formed in 2005, with a different guitarist and singer who left the group in 2012. Bassist/lead singer Francis Beringer and drummer/vocalist Stefanie Zaenker considered carrying on as a drums-bass duo, but soon realized they wanted to wait for the right guitarist. Further complicating the band’s progress, Zaenker was seriously injured at the end of 2014, requiring multiple surgeries on her wrists and drawing the band’s future into question. That patience and willingness to wait it out seem to come through in Caustic Casanova’s music.
Beringer says the songs often come about collaboratively, and the band likes to let the writing process unfold organically. “We’ve discovered that when something takes a long time, the ideas come eventually, maybe out of boredom,” he says. A basic initial idea might exist as a sketch in practice for a couple months, and the band starts adjusting accents, adding slight twists on a riff or coming up with another section entirely. The approach seems to allow the band to create a spiraling complexity that doesn’t flaunt itself as complex. But it’s a long gestation process. Deep familiarity with the core of a song allows for new parts to hatch without having to force it. “When you know something so well, like the back of your hand, and then you decide to add a section: ‘Oh, what if it went backwards for two bars here?’ — it doesn’t seem nuts to you,” says Beringer.
Drummer Zaenker says that they’ve noticed that other bands seem to sometimes avoid repetition out of fear of monotony, perhaps, but end up missing out on the force of the effect. “We’ve figured out ways to keep something repetitive but make it engaging,” she says. One approach she takes on the drums is to vary the surfaces, even if she’s playing the same identical strokes and rhythms with her sticks, hitting cymbal bells instead toms will dramatically change the feel. Zaenker and her bandmates seem to almost have a clinical precision when it comes to gauging the effectiveness of certain parts or textures or contrasts. “If there’s a riff that we’re super stoked on, we’ll think, ‘Yes, the listener needs to hear that 16 times,’” she says.
And guitarist Yonki has a similar view with regard to mixing up the tone palette of his instrument. Listen, for example, at about the 4:45 mark in the song “The Forgiveness Machine” off of Caustic Casanova’s 2015 record Breaks. After some serious metal, there’s a moment where the song opens up and there’s a Nashville-style double-stop solo phrase on a Telecaster. It’s out of the blue, but awesome, and strangely ominous too. “I really wanted twang,” says Yonki. “We play the music that we want to hear,” he says, elaborating on the idea. “We want to hear country parts in stoner-metal songs. We want 12-minute space-rock two-hand tapping. We want all of that.”
The sensibility, to my ears, is defiant and punk rock, in that it’s about not being bound by a set of expectations or rules. The band doesn’t indulge in any whiplash stylistic mash-up just to be clever or show off their skills. There’s no reckless shoehorning of out-of-place parts for novelty’s sake. The variety makes its own organic sense within the context of the songs. A giddiness comes through in both the sense of possibility in the songs and in the titles and lyrics. (Song titles like “Squid Pro Quo” and “Titian Titillation” suggest a taste for absurdist puns and wordplay.) It’s nice that Caustic Casanova can make serious ambitious heavy music and still avoid the trap of humorlessness.
If there’s a lightness in the band’s attitude, Caustic Casanova still approach the business of playing shows and entertaining people with a sense of purpose. “Play the songs properly — yeah — but there’s got to be more to it than that,” says Yonki. “There’s a lot of high energy antics going on on stage. What’s the point if you’re not going to just go nuts on stage? For me, playing live, there’s a lot of headbanging, throwing my back and my arms and my legs into what I’m doing. I’m playing the guitar with my whole body.” When, on occasion, all of that effort doesn’t engage an audience, Yonki adopts a battlefield mentality from the stage. “If the crowd is standing there looking bored, I kind of view it as a declaration of war.”
Taken from an article/interview “DC’s Caustic Casanova Wage War on Musical Monotony” by John Adamian
Colorado Springs Gazette
9/1/2016 – Interview With Caustic Casanova
8/24/16 – Changing the pace and vibe of the show to a large extent, Washington DC rock trio Caustic Casanova, on their own extensive US tour much in a similar vein as Castle, took the stage next and presented a noticeably eccentric set of what could be described as organized chaos, the kind of musicianship fans of acts such as Faith No More, Melvins, Refused and Boris could easily appreciate. Caustic Casanova definitely came across as the oddball band of the lineup and may not have been a savory cup of tea for everyone in attendance, but showcased undeniably great musicianship and ripped the stage to shreds. Overall, the band created a positive impression and proved themselves to be an act certainly worth seeing again.
Taken from a review of the August 20th, 2016 show in Glendale, CA with Taarkus, Trapped Within Burning Machinery, and Castle by Andrew Bansal
8/19/2016 – It was a super stormy night, though; raining cats and dogs. I think the weather, and the fact that it was a Wednesday night teamed up to drive down attendance a bit, but that never stopped the rock, did it? After sitting through some other bands of, let’s say, varying quality, I was ready for Caustic Casanova.
The thought I had the moment they started their engines was, “well, I guess I am finally going deaf tonight”. The level of volume and scale of the frontal assault was staggering. I asked Francis about it in a text, post-show, and he said, “Ha ha, we definitely use volume as an aesthetic”. That is one way to put it. Another would be for me to say that I have seen a lot of bands over the years, and I am sure that Caustic Casanova is one of the loudest I have ever witnessed.
They opened with two new songs (one hilariously called “Pontius Pilates”), before moving into familiar territory (for me) with Breaks songs “Show Some Shame” and “Thundersnow”, before finishing up their set with “Snake in the Grass” from 2012’s Someday you will be Proven Correct. No banter, no breather, it was one big face melter of a set. At one point I was pretty sure my eyeballs were being pushed through the back of my skull. Francis and Stefani’s vocals fought for the same space the racket coming from the guitar, bass, and drums, creating a visceral wall of sound.With all the aggression and noise, it is remarkable that the band was still able to coax delicate flourishes of ambience in the middle of the hurricane. Andrew, with his monster pedal board, was a big part of this depth. He was able to bob and weave amongst the low-end rumble of the rhythm section, and it made a ton of difference. This was not noise for the sake of noise.
In the end, I didn’t go deaf; not yet, anyway. It was a rainy, crappy night, but Caustic Casanova still delivered the goods, and I am excited for the next time I can see them perform. They are on tour all over the U.S. right now, so go on and get some.
Taken from a review of the August 10th, 2016 Show in Minneapolis, MN by Chad Werner
8/19/2016 – “Breaks Away” An Interview With Caustic Casanova by Chad Werner
8/15/2016 – Interview with Caustic Casanova
8/8/2016 – The punk band from Washington, DC, Caustic Casanova, lit up the room at The Southgate House Revival on Thursday night. The band consists of Francis Beringer on bass/vocals, Andrew Yonki on guitar, and Stefanie Zaenker on drums/vocals. Their sounds is a little mix of punk with a little heavy rock. Think Queens of the Stone Age meets My Bloody Valentine mixed with a little Fugazi.
There were maybe 6 or 7 people in the audience when they started playing. The more they played, the more people started paying attention and bobbing their heads to the music. As part of their nationwide tour, Caustic Casanova, performed songs off of their latest (2015, with their vinyl version out since July 2016) album Breaks during their nearly hour long set. What is so interesting about this band is the insane amount of distortion that they use during and in between songs and their creativity that they bring on stage.
Yonki’s mind-blowing guitar skills and Beringer’s vocal and bass, along with Zaenker really creates a powerhouse of a trio. Zaenker really gives a Meg White-type-vibe when it comes to technique, energy, and the chemistry she has when performing with Beringer and Yonki. The number of instrumentals and solos that these guys illustrate on stage, really show that they really have a passion for their craft. Their music is very distinctive and they really illustrate that they are not trying to replicate any other band or artist.
Caustic Casanova have been releasing music since 2008 and have had two LPs out including their 2015 and latest album Breaks (Retro Futuristic Records). It is one of their best albums-to-date because it just shows how much they have evolved throughout the years musically and mentally. With a little over 2,000 likes on Facebook, this band is continuing their journey. They have previously played at shows such as SXSW and have opened for metal band Kylesa. The amount of confidence, musical skills, and passion that this band has will definitely put them on the map in the music industry, if they keep at it and continue to grow. They are definitely a band to keep an eye out for. The band is currently on tour and will be hitting cities such as San Francisco, Orlando, Boston, and will end their tour on October 5 in Rochester, NY.
Taken from a review of the August 4th, 2016 show in Newport, KY by Natalya Daoud
Dayton Most Metro
8/5/2016 – Interview With Caustic Casanova “Hard To Break” By Tommy Johnson
DC Rock Live
7/22/2016- I just saw this trio, long one of my favorites, less than two months ago, so nothing changed too much from that review. A bit of tinkering with the set list as we began with the opening riffs courtesy of Mr. Nugent (he won’t notice, he’s busy this week) that work into one of their newer metallic crunching songs with the usual artistry within (something Ted could not touch with a ten foot bow). They keep the sonics coming with all the creative flourish that you come to expect and the crowd is enjoying it all. They unify all the elements previously heard tonight and add a few spices of their own to what is now a long but fulfilling night. Another cut reminded me of Budgie jamming with Led Zeppelin until some how a Rush song emerged. There is plenty of psychedelic intensity as well, as this trio knows how to play with all forms of metal and beyond to concoct something unique. And they continue to work hard and tour frequently. And next week they are off for TEN WEEKS. So if they come your way, do check them out. You will not be sorry.
7/22/2016 – Don’t get me wrong, I believe it because it’s Caustic Casanova and they did something similar toward the end of last year, but nonetheless, this is ridiculous. Look at this tour! It’s like the Washington D.C. trio — who released their second album, the J. Robbins-produced Breaks (review here), last year via Retro Futurist — sat around and were like, “Yeah, it’s July. Let’s just tour until October.” Absolutely insane. This band must really love each other.
Taken from a 2016 tour preview
DC Rock Live
5/28/2016 – My favorite homegrown trio is back and I am seeing them for the first time in a long, long while. Although I have missed them, it does offer an opportunity to take a more fresh view without the memories of recent reviews in my ever evaporating short term memory. All the signature moves are there: Stephanie’s accurate powerhouse drumming along with increasing vocal help; Francis’ vocal intensity and throbbing bass runs; and Andrew’s sonic assault guitar style that keeps it psychedelic in sound but metallically powerful throughout. The one thing that strikes me is that all the touring has paid off with an even more together and confident band that has the great noisy style that Hüsker Dü used to employ by keeping transitional noise going between songs that never allowed you to catch your breath. And the songs are distinct enough to have their own character, although tonight it was more about the overall effect. As usual they had my mind wandering around to all kinds of great music from different scenes and eras as their opening riff took me back to Ted Nugent’s ‘Stranglehold’ (?!) and their closing freak-out reminded me of the MC5 cutting into ‘Black to Comm’ but not quite hitting the Paik finish (which is possibly one of the best all-time). And based on the big ovation at the end, the sonic effect of the entire powerfully constructed set worked on all the enthusiastic rockers in attendance. They are off to explore the country further this summer, so if they head to your town, do yourself a favor and check them out.
Taken from a review of the May 27th, 2016 show in Washington, DC with Kill Lincoln and Psychic Subcreatures by David Hintz
Washington City Paper
5/25/16 – Rounding out the bill is the sludgy prog-rock trio Caustic Casanova, whose latest album, Breaks, hits hard with huge riffs and thundering drum fills. Plissken would approve. Psychic Subcreatures performs with Kill Lincoln and Caustic Casanova at 9 p.m. at the Black Cat.
Taken from a preview of the May 27th, 2016 show in Washington, DC with Kill Lincoln and Psychic Subcreatures by Matt Cohen
2/8/2016 – Natürlich gab’s Metal, Hardcore, Heavy-Rock, Progressive und Stoner schon vor Caustic Casanova. Aber Bands mit der Idee, diese Stile zusammenzuwerfen, gibt es nicht viele. Die Auswirkungen dieses musikalischen Bebens spürt und hört man auf dem neuen Album „Breaks“, wobei die Saitenkünstler aus Washington im Dauerstakkato durch ihre Stücke hacken. Die drei Musiker metzeln von Beginn an trocken und abgehackt, ungemein präzise sowie brutal laut durch die Songs und spielen verschachtelte, untanzbare Stücke, die sich höchstens zum Kopfnicken eignen, aber entlocken ihren Instrumenten mit Unterstützung diverser Effektgeräte beeindruckende Krachgeräusche. Eine Kostprobe der Auswirkungen dieses musikalischen Bebens ist mit dem furiosen „Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues“ an dieser Stelle zu hören.
Review of Breaks by Von Horst Wendt HERE
DC Music Download
2/2/2016 – Caustic Casanova–their performance moved through ebbs and flows of different soundscapes, keeping their set fresh and interesting as it went along.
Taken from a review of the January 29th, 2016 at Rock and Roll Hotel with Drop Electric, The Escape Artist and Boon by Mary Henkin
12/30/2015 – Caustic Casanova’s December 11 2015 show named as one of the best shows of 2015 in Savannah, GA
Outlaws of the Sun
12/21/2015 – Breaks named 15th Best Album of the Year by Outlaws of the Sun
12/9/2015 – An early signee to Kylesa’s Retro Futurist Records, Caustic Casanova is pushing genre and style in some of the most original ways we’ve seen in 2015. Blending space rock reverberation and echo with post-punk attack and a dismantle-it-all-and-solder-it-back mentality, their September release, Breaks, is a fascinating listen.
Retro Futurist is truly a diverse roster—Burnt Books is a downright incendiary take on artful hardcore, Niche a ‘70s-influenced force of rock ‘n’ roll, Crazy Bag Lady a punk band laden with infectious hooks. If anything, you know it’s a Retro Futurist band if it packs a punch that hits you right in the gut, that has some kind of true, feral fury in it.
That’s where Caustic Casanova comes in. If you like gutsy, raw stuff and music that can’t fit nicely in a tiny little box of genre, you’ll want to be at this show.
12/3/2015 – Lengthy interview with Caustic Casanova by Taylor Northern
12/1/2015 – Caustic Casanova from Washington, DC has released their sophomore LP, Break, on Sept. 25. The trio’s songs on this latest album have a spacey, psychedelic influence while they still [retain] a heavy punk rock band. They almost lost their drummer, Stefanie Zaenker, to a severe accident where her drumming career was at high risk, but she is now recovered and making an incredible comeback on their full U.S. tour. The tour is in support of their new album and will come to The Acheron in Brooklyn on Dec. 5.
Taken from a mini feature “Caustic Casanova – Nothing’s Stopping Them” by Rachel Ciccone
Glory In Sound
11/21/2015 – Breaks is an album that has the sound of a timeless classic. Its heavy, rhythmically driven sound pays tribute to earlier doom metal and blues rock bands like Black Sabbath and Pentagram, but still comes across as authentic and original. The occasional spacey, atmospheric guitar sounds balance the cutting guitar and bass unison riffs, and the drums and bass are played together with the kind of precision that comes from years of musical dialogue. It is a well rounded sound, abrasive in all the right ways.
Listening to Breaks paints pictures of an epic adventure, fighting fire breathing dragons and carrying swords across dark mountains. The vocals are mixed back, sounding like cries through a dungeon wall. The three main characters take turns in the lead, each one vital to the sound. I have to say as a bit of a minimalist, I appreciate that there is nothing extra here. Every note and every beat is necessary, even with a bit of effected guitar. It is a bold statement in the face of the DC scene, which can become so cerebral and saturated with sounds of indie and dream pop that it loses a bit of the visceral, primal energy that is essential to good rock music. Caustic Casanova brings that energy in droves with the slow-heavy Breaks, and they do it right.
Review of Breaks by Wanda Perkins HERE
Creative Loafing Tampa Bay
11/15/2015 – DC’s “regressive rock” trio Casutic Casanova – signed to Kylesa’s Retro Futurist Records in 2014 and backing new album, Breaks – pushes a muscular, riff-roaring, bass-fuzzed blend of metal and hard rock, flavored with doses of noise and stoned psychedelia, and marked by the soaring and howling male-female vocal harmonies of drummer/vocalist Stefanie Zaenker and bassist/lead vocalist Francis Beringer.
Taken from a preview of the November 15, 2015 show at New World Brewery in Tampa, FL with Ninehorn, Beerwolf, and Awful People by Leilani Polk
Tom Tom Magazine
11/1/2015 – Article by Stefanie Zaenker “Culinary Adventures From A Touring Drummer”
10/29/2015 – If there’s a video I was in the mood to see this morning, Caustic Casanova’s epic clip for “Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues” was it. Sepia-toned animation sequences include all sorts of great things like a riff on Alice in Wonderland and mythical creatures (A unicorn! A griffon! A hydra! Oh my!), not to mention a ship filled with a gaggle of battle-ready skeletons. The song itself provides a deliciously dark, full steam ahead raucousness that makes my ears so very happy. Decidedly one of the most interesting bands operating in DC these days. These three also happen to be out on the road right now, so if they hit your neck of the woods get out there and show your support.
Taken from a review of the music video for “Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues” by Megan Petty
Outlaws of the Sun
10/12/2015 – Caustic Casanova is a band I’ve just came across when I was sent their new album – Breaks to review. Caustic Casanova has been round since 2005. Wow. And I’ve never heard of them until now. Oh well, better late than never. Newly signed to Kylesa record label – Retro Futurist, their new album – Breaks is one that’s very hard to describe. Parts Sludge, Doom, Stoner, Psych, Noise Rock and even Indie Rock. Caustic Casanova has there own approach to heavy based music. If you’re a fan of Kylesa, Torche and Helms Alee then you better check this album out now as Breaks is a sheer heavy musical delight from start to finish.
Opening track – Thundersnow – has a heavy sludge rock approach though it has a lovely psychedelic pop feel that Torche/Floor are known for. The dual vocals of Stephanie and Francis give this song an exciting lo-fi post-punk vibe as the band will confuse and delight you in equal measure. The album has quite a schizophrenic feel as the band throw almost every kind of heavy rock genre at you. The band even includes traces of Space Rock towards the end of the song. You can see why they were signed to Retro Futurist as they have a lot in common with Kylesa. It’s a fantastic sound which the rest of the album follows.
Second track – Show Some Shame – is an upbeat Sludge/Stoner/Psych Rock number with fast-paced guitars and spiky pop based vocals courtesy of Francis. Stephanie’s drumming is a constant threat through out and when the dual vocals return you can’t help thinking this band would be brilliant touring partners for Torche. It’s perhaps the recognisable Doom/Sludge pop vibe that Torche is known for but Caustic Casanova create their own style of addictive sludge pop. This is one of the albums standout tracks.
Third track – Elect My Best Friend For A Better World – as you may tell from the title itself is a more personal and bleaker tale compared to the opening two tracks. It’s a doomier affair with intricate post-punk riffs that slowly builds the atmosphere for the heavier riffs to come crashing in. It does take time for them to appear but the song runs for 9:30 mins and it’s a highly emotional song. Once the Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs arrive you’re confronted with a bleak atmosphere as the band has written bleak lyrics that have power to bring a tear to your eye. Though the power of the riff compels me more to go into full HEADBANGING mode and I’m ashamed to say that I did.
Fourth track – Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues – may have a crazy title and one that only Caustic Casanova knows the true meaning of. The band switch musical gears yet again. This is more of a Doom/Post-Punk/Stoner sound with the dual vocals having an Indie Rock vibe. The vocals maybe quite jarring for some to enjoy but I dig them as these vocals have passion and an identity all of their own.
Fifth track – The Forgiveness Machine – opens with a thumping bass line before the usual sludgy/doomy guitars kick in. It’s played at a deliberate slow-pace with Francis’s vocals being the main focus whilst the music becomes heavier and more psychedelic as time passes by.
The last two songs – No Sky July and The Painted Desert – take up 21 minutes of the albums run time and both perhaps contain the albums heaviest sounds and more far-out ideas as Caustic Casanova in creating a surreal trippy psychedelic vibe, The sounds drift from Post-Punk, Space, Stoner, Sludge and Doomy atmospherics whilst offering a bleak pop sensibility. Yeah it can be confusing at times but you’re never bored for a second. Even I don’t know what is going on from time to time but that’s what makes this album so exciting. It dares to be different from other albums out there.
Breaks is a surreal and psychedelic out-of-control sludge riff fest and one that can be classed as one of the most innovative albums of the year. I had low expectations for this album and I always love albums more that not only defy genre conventions but my own expectations as well. Yeah, I loved this album. Breaks is going to end up as one of my fave records of 2015.
Review of Breaks by Steve Howe HERE
10/7/2015 – Caustic Casanova is a helluva band name. It’s something the group live up to with the sheer colour of their music. New cut ‘Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues’ is a piece of vivid songwriting, shot through with colour and panache. The accompanying visuals take this one step further. A journey through the wilderness, it finds Caustic Casanova re-born in a cartoon world. Animated by Wesley Belak-Berger, his brother Chuck BB drew the cartoons of the band. It’s a bewitching clip, one you can catch below.
Taken from a music video premier of “Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues” by Robin Murray
10/2/2015 – As with their 2012 debut, Someday You Will be Proven Correct, Washington D.C.-based trio Caustic Casanova recorded their sophomore long-player, Breaks, with J. Robbins at The Magpie Cage in Baltimore. They’re also releasing the album through Kylesa’s Retro Futurist Records imprint, so they come nothing if not well-endorsed. With bassist Francis Beringer and drummer Stefanie Zaenker sharing vocal duties throughout – the trio is completed by Andrew Yonki on guitar – they run and bounce through a gamut of upbeat post-hardcore noise rock, thick in tone but not so much as to get up and move around, tempo-wise. Yonki brings some post-rock airiness to the early going of the nine-minute “Elect My Best Friend for a Better World,” but the album on the whole feels more about impact than atmosphere, and Caustic Casanova work up considerable momentum by the time they get around to paying off the 12-minute finale, “The Painted Desert.” Its melodies open up more on repeat listens, but not at the expense of the push so well enacted throughout.
Link to this review of Breaks by JJ Koczan HERE
DC Rock Live
10/1/2015 – Long one of my favorite DC area bands, it is great to see these three taking their sound to new heights on their new label. ‘New’ guitarist, Andrew Yonki, has now been firmly in place for some time and offers all the classic touches we used to hear along with some quick little tricks of his own. His style is almost Steve Turner-like, although the band won’t have you thinking of Mudhoney at first blush. Yet Francis’ vocals have some of that desperate edge of Mark Arm, while Stephanie’s drumming is as hard hitting as Dan Peters, even at half the size. But they are not on Sub Pop, they are on Kylesa’s label (Retro Futurist Records) which is the perfect home for them, as Kylesa is perhaps the most successful fusion of metal and psychedelia (with a dose of punk attitude), Caustic Casanova has been offering lots of creativity in this heavy psycho-world as well. These seven long songs flow even more seamlessly than the previous and more diverse LP, yet by no means does this lack for creative variety.
Songs to start with first:
Thundersnow – The opener is a ferocious start, as expected, but also showcases the clever shifts and arrangement choices, this trio is good at.
Elect My Best Friend for a Better World – The guitar is more psychedelic and the rhythm section even more rollicking.
No Sky July – Great vocal work and a mystical psyche droner with plenty of sharp uptempo moves somehow embedded here as well.
Taken from a review of Breaks by David Hintz
10/1/2015 – Formed in 2005 at the College of William and Mary and currently hailing from Washington D.C., Caustic Casanova has seen a tumultuous decade. Almost losing drummer/vocalist Stefanie Zaenker to a near-fatal accident wasn’t enough to keep them out of the game. Following up the commercial and critical success of 2012’s Someday You Will be Proven Correct and the departure of the group’s original guitarist, Breaks bleeds solidarity and sounds like the effort of close friends. How will the addition of new guitarist Andrew Yonki shift Casanova’s dynamic?
“Thundersnow” opens Breaks with a confident pace and hungry riffs, opening up to a space where listeners can’t help but pay attention to Francis Beringer and Zaenker exclaiming “A dream is real while it happens,” setting a tone of immediacy and freedom that carries throughout. “Show Some Shame” showcases Casanova’s uncanny ability to shape-shift from one genre to another, even within verse, handling transitions between punk and metal with ease. “Quetzelteca Deathswitch Blues” has a runaway beat and a natural performance. The album sounds organic enough to convince you it’s from a past decade. “No Sky July” is a stretch display of psych-rock that drags on a tiny bit too long but really hammers home Caustic Casanova’s patience and willingness to expand one concept as far as they can. “The Painted Desert” is brawny and spaced-out, closing out Breaks with a sweeping display of genre-bending that gently brings you down to earth.
Breaks is unforced and patient, with a brooding and driving sensibility. The group is clearly unafraid to dwell on certain musical ideas, occasionally fleshing them out to the point of excess. The pacing may not be perfect but the approach is refreshing. It’s clear that after losing their old guitarist, the core members stepped to the front. The bass-heavy sound catches your attention because it doesn’t breath currency and it doesn’t try to fit in. Caustic Casanova is putting out a solid entry into an unsaturated region of rock sub-genre mash, with elements of post-punk, post-rock, post-metal, progressive, blues, and hard rock coming together in an altogether endearing vibe that feels like a house show minus the amateurism. There’s no pretension here, but their is a healthy amount of heart and guts.
Review of Breaks by Robert Seawell HERE
Pittsburgh In Tune
9/29/2015 – If you like your music loud — and I’m talking the kind of loud that threatens to make yours ears bleed — you might want to consider giving “Breaks” a spin. That’s the latest full-length from high-decibel trio Caustic Casanova. It’s a high-octane gathering of seven sprawling tunes that find the band taking their music in a new direction.
New guitarist Andrew Yonki joins original members Francis Beringer (lead vocals/bass) and Stefanie Zaenker (drums/vocals) and Caustic Casanova haven’t missed a beat. The songs on the 55-minute “Breaks” are abrasive and riff-heavy — filled with lots of distorted guitars, fuzzy bass and thunderous drumming — and should help the trio expand their fan base. Yonki in particular shines throughout the recording.
Opener “Thundersnow” sets the tone for what’s to come and Caustic Casanova later score with nine-minute opus “Elect My Best Friend for a Better World,” “Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues,” “The Forgiveness Machine” and 12-minute closer “The Painted Desert.” This is the kind of record that takes its toll on the listener, leaving you spent — but satisfied — after every spin.
Taken from a review of Breaks by Jeffrey Sisk
Aiding and Abetting
9/24/15 – When I dumped this album [Breaks] into my iTunes, the genre read “metal.” Unlike some folks, that didn’t bother me at all. I thought the name was a bit twee for a metal act, but I’m a couple decades past my prime as a music reviewer, so what the hell.
Turns out the name is just about perfect. Caustic Casanova is a three-piece power indie rock band from the wilds of D.C. Imagine a proggy version of Superchunk or the Nineteen Forty-Fives (complete with songs that might clock in at nine or twelve minutes), and you’re pretty much there. Since these folks hail from inside the Beltway, J. Robbins is their house producer. And yes, it wouldn’t be wrong to add Jawbox to those influences listed above.
So. . .awesome, really. The rhythms are straight indie rock, with a tendency toward the Weddoes. The guitars aren’t quite psychedelically fuzzy, but they’re definitely not metal clean. And the dual vocals of Stefanie Zaneker and Francis Berenger are enthralling. Unison male and female vocals is one of those elements that is simply intoxicating to me. CC usually uses that trick on the hooks, but it bleeds into the verses on occasion. Enough to excite; infrequent enough to be a treat.
And the power. CC crosses just about every genre in existence in its quest for a unique sound. And I think it’s fair to say that has been accomplished. I’ve never seen the band live (a situation I’ll have to rectify soon), but I can envision a setlist that might include “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” “The Trooper,” “Slack Motherfucker” and “Surprise, You’re Dead.” And maybe a really twisted version of “Yours Is No Disgrace.”
Despite the definite geezerage such covers might indicate, CC is fully modern. No one plays songs like this. Nobody. And the sheer glee evident within leaves tingles. The future might not be wretched after all. It just might kick some serious ass.
The Rock Office
9/24/2015 – Washington DC’s Caustic Casanova has just released their newest EP Breaks.The trio consisting of Francis Beringer on bass, Andrew Yonki on guitar and Stefanie Zaenker on drums, all share vocal duties. The sound is eclectic to say the least, but the one thing that is obvious upon the first listening to Breaks is the bands cohesiveness and skill. Combining elements of Punk, Classic Heavy Metal, and Alternative Rock, Caustic Casanova creates an unique blend of music that sound like Black Sabbath and The Melvins started a group and asked PJ Harvey to join them. The standout tracks on Breaks are “Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues” and “The Painted Desert.” This young band has a lot of potential and talent galore.
9/24/2015 – Essay By Andrew Yonki “Influential Album: Andrew Yonki of Caustic Casanova Discusses Isis’ Panopticon“
Jersey Beat – The Quinlan Chronicles
9/12/2015 – This DC outfit features brilliant minds such as drummer Stefanie Zaenker and bassist Francis Beringer, both graduates of the prestigious College of William and Mary. They are joined by guitarist Andrew Yonki, who I am certain is highly intelligent as well, if his playing is a reflection of his intellect. Caustic Casanova is deceptively heavy and the band revels is expansive, panoramic songs that include various shifts in tempos as well as a luxurious amount of room for each nuance to be fully explored. When Beringer howls “we are all doomed” on “Show Some Shame”, he does so with a harmoniously deadpan delivery, eschewing any disgust or apathy one would more commonly associate with such a sentiment. Yonki’s playing dominates the opening “Thundersnow” and “No Sky July”; two pieces delivered with jaw-dropping deftness and precision. Meanwhile, “Elect My Friend For a Better World” features bursts of psychedelia that effortlessly transitions to chugging metal riffing accented by a thunderous bass line. “The Forgiveness Machine” is a slab of low-end blunt force that succumbs to a scintillating guitar exhibition that ultimately retreats back into a lair of punishing bombast. Each player shines here and Caustic Casanova is determined to make the listener do some work-one do not simply sit back and allow this waft across the room-but the effort is well worth the result.
9/11/2015 – Three cuts from Breaks have been released so far, with lead single “Show Some Shame” showcasing Caustic Casanova’s heavy power and melody. It’s a more straightforward tune than the other singles, charging ahead with whipping, incendiary guitar riffs, nimble, low-end bass line, and an emphatic, acrobatic drum beat. The song plows forward with Francis’s expressive vocals marking the verses, as he plaintively howls “All the world’s a stage / We’re unprepared / Our understudy’s turned up dead.” For the chorus breakdown, Stefanie joins Francis on their Exene Cervenka and John Doe-like exclamations which are pitted against the heavy churn of distorted guitar riffs, cymbal blasts, and drums that pummel like a sped-up boxer hitting with sharp precision. The agitation only increases by the end of the song, with both Francis howling and Stefanie shouting “We are doomed!”
Taken from a track review for “Show Some Shame” by Jen Dan
9/10/2015 – Next up was DC based Caustic Casanova. These guys and gal brought a very interesting sound to the table. Almost a surfer/space rock sound, think Weezer meets the Beach Boys. . . ok that’s not a very accurate description but you really have to listen to them for yourselves.
Joy of Violent Movement
9/7/15 – Eventually, the band discovered their newest guitarist Andrew Yonki, who makes his first recorded appearance on the trio’s soon-to-be released, third full-length effort, Breaks, which is slated for a September 25 release through Retro Futurist Records and the album’s latest single “The Forgiveness Machine” will further cement the band’s reputation for sludgy, power chord and thundering drum-based rock that channels Melvins and others with a subtle psychedelic bent just under the murky surface. Simply put it’s a forceful, muscular scorcher of a song that twists and turns about while kicking ass and taking names.
Taken from a track review of “The Forgiveness Machine” by William Ruben Helms
9/7/2015 – I spend most of my time listening to music a few decibels south of heavy rock, but there is something cathartic about the primal energy of blazing electric guitars and throbbing drums that calls on my inner headbanger every now and then. Despite my shocking lack of a black t-shirt, I showed up at Zanzabar Sunday night to check out DC-area band Caustic Casanova and veteran label-mates, Kylesa, out of Savannah.
CC took the stage in front of Kylesa’s sprawling drum kits, making their first appearance in Louisville (they practiced pronouncing it). Refreshingly unpretentious, CC got down to business with the viper sting of “Snake in the Grass” — unleashing bassist Francis Beringer’s underworldly howling vocals. Guitarist Andrew Yonki and drummer Stefanie Zaenker are a powerhouse duo, providing all the ferocious, driving energy that propels the songs satisfyingly along paths that dip, switch, and build to thunderous climaxes.
For me, the thing that sets CC apart from a lot of heavy rock and metal bands is that their songs are so various — they manage to surprise with different rhythms and textures, avoiding one continuous dark, thrummy sound that blurs from one song to another. There are touches from other genres while remaining true to the overall loud, relentless shred of doomy rock. I really love the demonic surge of “Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues” as well as the visceral punch of the fast and furious “Show Some Shame,” from their upcoming album, Breaks. Their delivery is pretty flawless — you hear the craft and care that have gone into the songs, which also feature some thoughtful, literate vocals.
Caustic Casanova provided an excellent tune-up for the crowd who arrived early for headlining band Kylesa, whose dual drummers kept me mesmerized pretty much the whole time. Perhaps it’s something of a gimmick, but it’s a highly successful one. Overall, I found Kylesa less interesting to my tastes than CC, but the air-strumming, head-bobbing crowd would undoubtedly disagree.
Unclouded By Ambition
9/6/2015 – Review of the 9/5/2015 show in St. Louis, MO with Kylesa and Path of Might by ND McCray
9/4/2015 – The track is a blend of heavy, bluesy sludge that features bursts of 60’s psychedelic fusion. It flows from a plodding slow tempo to a more deliberate and aggressive mid-tempo approach. It’s incredibly dynamic and a great deal of fun!
8/31/2015 – A heavy rock band that formed 10 years ago at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, Caustic Casanova has changed personnel and weathered some serious bad breaks since then, but they have emerged louder and stronger than ever, judging from their aptly named release, “Breaks,” out September 25 on Retro Futurist. Opening for fellow rockers and label-owners Kylesa at Zanzabar this Sunday, the three members of CC took some time to talk about the new album and upcoming tour.
This is drummer Stefanie Zaenker’s first full tour since recovering from two broken wrists, a serious injury that required months of physical therapy and many hours of recovery work on her own. “A lot of the stretching devices my therapists made looked like instruments used for torture, but damn, was it worth it because I got all of my mobility back in both wrists in time to play a show 4 months later! I have metal in both wrists that will stay there forever, but I only really feel it in the form of soreness when the weather changes dramatically. Other than that I feel completely recovered.”
Zaenker’s repaired wrists weren’t the only challenge as CC headed into the studio. They were also transitioning between lead guitarists. Andrew Yonki impressed them the most in auditions, and it helps that he was also a familiar face — a friend, as well as a CC fan, familiar with their music. Bassist Francis Beringer credits Yonki with adding some important elements. “He brought a louder, more demonic edge to our band. We’re definitely a heavier band because of his influence, which is where I wanted to go anyway, so it worked out perfectly.”
Putting the new album together was a collaborative effort, weaving together threads of songs for which Beringer and Zaenker had already worked out bass and drum parts with Yonki’s guitar wizardry. Beringer also enjoyed the unfamiliar job of putting lyrics and vocals to song structures that Yonki brought to the band. “I had to think as a singer and lyricist as well as a bassist and arranger from the very beginning. It was a fun challenge and a new way of looking at songwriting. Fitting your words and melodies onto someone else’s riff ideas is a puzzle – fun and frustrating in equal measure.”
For Yonki, his first recording experience with CC as lead guitarist was entirely positive. “The fact that we tracked the scratch tracks for Breaks in a live room together as a band with our live performance setups — it was so much more comfortable.”
The members of CC agree that taking risks and bending the genre a bit is what keeps them inspired, and it’s one of the reasons they are excited about the new record. Beringer likes the niche that CC has carved for itself: “I don’t want to sound like other bands, and when you’re wholly committed to that aesthetic, categorization is difficult, which creates confusion, which is in turn inherently risky because often bands that don’t fit into “scenes” or neat little boxes have a tough time getting on bills and growing their audiences. That commitment to sonic diversity has always been a burden for this band going back many years. Luckily Retro Futurist Records is a home for bands like ours that don’t fit into categories.”
Check out two new tracks from the album on SoundCloud. I highly recommend the relentless drive of “Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues” with its dark, churning energy.
Full feature/interview by Selena Frye is HERE
8/21/2015 – Hailing Washington DC, Caustic Casanova has a lot going for them in the route of catchy-as-hell songs, while still maintaining some fresh and inventive new ideas. Their new album Breaks has so much packed into it that I don’t even know where to begin.
If there’s anything I know for sure, it’s that I have to commend them for their heavy and brilliant use of the bass guitar. It’s perfectly mixed with the guitars to the point of where they cooperate beautifully together through the tracks, pulling together some amazing solos on both ends.
As mentioned before, there’s so much packed into this album, specifically in the area of tone, it’s hard to pin-point because of the high amount of mixtures that can be found in this record. It goes all the way from psych rock to post punk, some heavy forms of metal, and even blues. It’s amazing to hear a band that can manage to pack all of these different influences within just a single album, and in an original manner. The lyrical content, on the other hand, is a bit on the odd side. Political flavors arise, whether it be the song titles or the actual lyrics themselves. The clean style of vocals that all three of the members lend to the songs—sometimes getting a bit louder and more abrasive—fits within the songs they’ve created.
If you’re wanting to listen to something with new and interesting ideas, I recommend checking this album out when it releases this September. I honestly had a ton of fun listening to this album, as it’s one of the best heavy rock/metal albums of this year, hands down.
Web link to this review of Breaks is HERE
8/18/2015 – Quetzalteca Deathswitch Blues” is the second single from Caustic Casanova’s energetically innovative LP, Breaks, which comes out on Kylesa’s Retro Futurist label on September 25.
As if lead single “Show Some Shame” wasn’t enough to convince you of Caustic Casanova’s addictive dynamism, just listen to “Quetzalteca Deathswitch Blues.”
The track shows the trio at their finest, blending bassist-singer Francis Beringer’s post-punk-inspired lead vocals, drummer-singer Stefanie Zaenker’s pounding rhythms and spot-on backing vocals, and Andrew Yonki’s catchy riff and blazing solo.
“Quetzalteca Deathswitch Blues,” in addition to “Show Some Shame,” is proof positive that Caustic Casanova is one of the most excitingly innovative bands on the planet. And, as evidenced on Breaks, the band’s at home in psych, prog, metal, punk, and seemingly every other genre in the galaxy.
Taken from a track review for “Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues” written by Paul Gleason
8/18/2015 – Three piece power trio with a singing chick drummer bringing up the rear, these cats merge power pop with heavy metal and know how to bring the noize.
Taken from a track review for “Show Some Shame”
8/14/2015 – Washington, D.C.-based trio Caustic Casanova doesn’t have time to mince words-their music is immediate and direct in all the best ways. Favoring aggressive rhythms and elastic melodies over something more timid and controlled, the band excels in this sort of progressive rock landscape. Composed of singer/bassist Francis Beringer, drummer/singer Stefanie Zaenker and guitarist Andrew Yonki, the band bases their heavily layered sound on a handful of influences and genres. From psych to classic rock and indie rock, the band devours these genres in a bid to inexorably reassemble their inspirations. They’re set to release their latest record, “Breaks,” on Sept. 25 via Retro Futurist Records.
On recent single, “Show Some Shame,” they churn through a laundry list of sounds before settling on a potent mix of hard rock, proto-metal and early ’90s indie rock tendencies. The song sends blistering guitar squalls, thudding percussive blasts and vocals that sound as though they’re slowly dismantling the building around you, allowing each moment to hit with an appropriate force. The band isn’t waiting around for anyone to get accustomed to their ferocious rock inclinations but is plowing past in a blur of battered guitar strings, splintered drumheads and strained vocal cords. It’s a perfect representation of that one last roar we all have before we’re ready to let go of summer and begin the slow descent into autumn.
Taken from a track review for “Show Some Shame” by Joshua Pickard
8/5/2015 – You can’t pin this album down in a single genre. It is a rock album, but it is psychedelic, punk, grunge, metal and so many more. This album, besides being a great listen, is almost a résumé; a, “look what we can do” type of album that fires on all cylinders.
Each song feels like it was picked from a different album, but they blend together well. Fans of Black Sabbath, as well as fans of Queens of the Stone Age and even Explosions in the Sky will find tracks on this album to enjoy. Caustic Casanova has tried to break down the walls between genres and fans and create a blanket album to cover all fans.
The truly interesting thing is that none of the songs feel rushed, cheated or forced. Caustic Casanova actually seems like they excel in all of these areas. There is not a bad song on this album and it is impossible to tell which style is their favorite.
Web link to this review of Breaks is HERE
8/4/2015 – Feature interview conducted by Timothy Anderl HERE
babysue.com, LMNOP aka dONW7
8/3/2015 – The folks in Caustic Casanova are back and sounding better than ever. After releasing two well-received albums (Imminent Eminence, 2008 and Someday You Will Be Proven Correct, 2012), they embarked on a SXSW tour…only to have their original guitarist suddenly leave the band. Afterward they tried continuing as a drum and bass duo but that didn’t seem right. Another setback was that the drummer at one point experienced serious wrist injuries from which she had to recover. They finally had to make a decision whether to continue or go off in some different direction. After enlisting Andrew Yonki to play guitar, the decision was obvious. Caustic Casanova was back in business and ready to forge ahead. Once again produced by J. Robbins, Breaks picks up where the last album left off. This band has a sound and style that will remind folks of 1980s and 1990s underground guitar rock. These tracks sound like a real band playing real instruments. And they’re not at all afraid to turn up and make real noise. Breaks is a true rock and roll album, full of furious rhythms, loud guitars, and plenty of focused aggression. Seven thundering rockers that will please even the most jaded music fans. Killer cuts include “Thundersnow,” “Elect My Best Friend For A Better World,” “The Forgiveness Machine,” and “The Painted Desert.”
Web link to this review of Breaks is HERE
Two Guys Metal Reviews
8/2/2015 – As I’ve said many times, I’ll cover a band if their name makes me laugh, and Caustic Casanova are one such band. That being said, they also bring forth a really powerful and interesting sound that is rather unlike anything I have ever heard. What these guys do is add touches of doom metal to a crushing rock sound and use double male and female vocals to help get some interesting effects into the mix. Toss in psychedelic freakouts and poignant solos and you have yourself their new record Breaks a surprisingly satisfying LP that will have you coming back for more. The tasteful interplay that the band base their sound off of is endlessly interesting to me and helps to make Caustic Casanova stand out in a crowded field. These guys are coming at you with top notch compositions that refuse to follow your goddamn rules and instead have you opening your eyes to delve deeper into the world of heavy music. Are you ready to take the plunge?
Web link to this review of Breaks is HERE
Static + Distance
7/24/2015 – Frenetic energy, demanding vocals, on the edge of collapsing at any moment. This gets me amped up to hear what they’ll tack on to their catalog with their third album this September.
Taken from a track review of “Show Some Shame” by Brian Figurski
7/21/2015 – This is definitely the most amped up I’ve ever been while being told “we are doomed!” The innate melodicism of this riff-heavy rocker turns my head, even though I’m not that into heavy stuff anymore.
Taken from a track review of “Show Some Shame”
7/15/2015 – Noisy, progressive Washington, DC-based three-piece Caustic Casanova will be unveiling their latest studio album when Breaks arrives this fall, and in anticipation of the new record, Exclaim! is pleased to share the premiere of the band’s brand new single “Show Some Shame.”
Loud, but melodic and intricately pieced together, the new song runs the gamut from sludge to psychedelia, all in just over four minutes. Consisting of founding members Stefanie Zaenker (drums/vocals) and Francis Beringer (lead vocals/bass), as well as newer addition Andrew Yonki on guitar, the current lineup sound like they’ve hit their stride — and after writing and touring together for a couple years, they’re ready to unleash what they’ve been working on.
7/15/2015 – The Washington DC-based and SEM favorite Caustic Casanova have released a new single, “Show Some Shame,” from their forthcoming LP, Breaks, which is due out on the Kylesa-helmed Retro Futurist Records on September 25.
Breaks is Caustic Casanova’s follow-up to 2012’s Someday You Will Be Proven Correct, which SEM‘s Alex Green hailed as “Literary, political and tangentially astral . . . an energetic blast of sci-fi post-punk.”
Featuring Stefanie Zaenker on drums and vocals, Francis Beringer on bass and lead vocals, and Andrew Yonki on guitar, Breaks promises to be heavier than its predecessor, covering dark post-punk, psychedelic post-metal, doom blues, complex progressive rock, and everything in the gaps.
On Breaks, Caustic Casanova are sure to take you to never-before heard musical horizons – ones that will viscerally and imaginatively grab you and keep you listening.
Taken from a track preview for “Show Some Shame” by Paul Gleason
DC Rock Live
It has been a while since I have last seen one of my all-time favorites in the DC area, which is ok by me as it has allowed a lot of good things to happen for them. They are signed to Retro Futurist Records and will have a second album out soon. They have done well on some lengthy touring and have gotten all the tighter as a result with plenty of new songs for me as well. And they laid it on thick, fast, and with a more demonic edge tonight. They still have a great psychedelic sound in their metallic approach, but add a lot of distinct personal elements. They even had a guest vocalist (George Burton, I believe) who chipped in by writing some words to a strange instrumental cut that reminded me again of MX-80 Sound (I rarely get to say that, so I keep bringing it up whenever possible). The newer songs are more for fans of Boris, Kylesa and Tool, and many more. I liked how they had a lot more double vocals now with the female voice of the drummer added to the male bassist voice. Although they struggle to get above the pummeling sound, they end up succeeding for me and the decent Tuesday night crowd here. They are hitting on all cylinders now, catch them while you can.
Taken from a review of the January 20th 2015 show at The Velvet Lounge in Washington, DC by David Hintz
Stereo Embers Magazine
Lengthy interview conducted by Paul Gleason is HERE
Stereo Embers Magazine
Anthemic, infectious, powerful, uplifting – these are only some of the adjectives that come to mind when you play Pantheon: Volume 1, the single that Caustic Casanova have released on their Bandcamp site. Caustic Casanova hail from Washington, D.C., and their sound on Pantheon: Volume 1 hints at some of the great bands from that city, especially Rites of Spring and Fugazi. Add some Nirvana and Hüsker Dü melody (on records like Flip Your Wig and New Day Rising) and some Mission of Burma intensity, and you have a band that has all the right influences. But influences only go so far, as Pantheon: Volume 1 attests. Bassist and vocalist Francis Beringer, drummer and vocalist Stefanie Zaenker, and guitarist Andrew Yonki know how to make things new.
Caustic Casanova’s most recent LP, Someday You Will Be Proven Correct, proved this all too well. It was an eclectic monster of a record that should have made every critic’s Top 10 list in 2012. Beringer and Zaenker appeared on Someday, and now, with the addition of Yonki on guitar for Pantheon, Caustic Casanova are even more formidable. They’re stronger, tighter…
It’s no wonder, then, that Yonki gets “Glossolalia” – the first song on Pantheon – started with an energetic and melodic guitar riff, which leads to Beringer’s anthemic and catchy vocal melody, supporting it note-for-note. But the band doesn’t settle with great pop-punk. They stop the pop mid-song and create a noisy and quite beautiful soundscape that resolves into a tremendous Yonki guitar solo, to which Zaenker contributes the rumbling fury of her drums. Caustic Casanova save the best for last on “Glossolalia.” As Yonki takes the song to new heights with some high-pitched notes, Beringer and Zaenker trade off vocal parts, the former carrying on the melody and the latter screaming the band to some chunky, song-ending riffing.
“Forever My Queen” is the second and final track on Pantheon. It’s a cover of a song by the D.C. proto-metal band Pentagram, and it sounds like Black Sabbath decided to condense their sound into a precise 2:30 single. Yonki is so good on this track that the riffs, solos, and tone sound like they could have come out of Tony Iommi’s amp, and Zaenker rocks as hard as Bill Ward ever did. But Beringer is no Ozzy on the track – and that’s a good thing. The melody, which he sings with an introspective desperation, belies its confidence only to demonstrate the insecurity of the lyrics. If you ever wondered what it would be like to hear Robert Smith or Ian Curtis front Sabbath, you’ll know after hearing “Forever My Queen.” And, after hearing Pantheon, you’ll be ready to hear what promises to be a fine forthcoming Caustic Casanova release on Retro Futurist.
You can purchase Pantheon: Volume 1 HERE.
Web link to this review, written by Paul Gleason, is HERE
In town from D.C. with a new 7-inch, Pantheon: Volume 1, produced by Jawbox’s J. Robbins and featuring a cover of “Forever My Queen,” Caustic Casanova respects their forebears while crafting smart originals and will release a series of similar 7-inches. 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, at Uncle Lou’s Entertainment Hall, $3. PICK OF THE DAY.
Taken from a preview of the October 16, 2014 show in Orlando, FL by Ashley Belanger
Retro Futurist‘s most recent signing, Caustic Casanova, rolled through town a couple weeks ago and delivered a scorching set of proggy, heavy, post punk at Hang Fire….Next up was Caustic Casanova, a hard to pigeonhole rock trio out of the nation’s capital. They play a complex blend of post punk, almost metal, progressive, stoner rock, powerful psyche, I don’t know, let’s just call it heavy rock. Great set with interesting time changes and heavy grooves that I really dug. I was so impressed that I left with a double album in hand (recorded by J. Robbins and mastered by Bob Weston, how’s that for some indie rock mega credit?). With any luck the Retro Futurist ties will pay off with Savannah becoming a regular tour stop.
Taken from a review of the October 8, 2014 show in Savannah, GA by Tom Cartmel in Hissing Lawns Magazine
In my final shipment of my Retro Futurist subscription, there was a seemingly random 7″ single included amongst the other insanely cool goodies (seriously, have you guys seen the 12″ Kylesa Live Studio Improvision?), Pantheon: Volume 1, by Caustic Casanova. An initial spin revealed, to my ear, a heavy take on the melodic, hooky, post punk of the late era Dischord Records/Washington D.C scene. A conversation with Philip Cope of Retro Futurist a few days later confirmed that Caustic Casanova would be joining their growing, excellently varied roster of artists. I highly recommend checking them out at Hangfire Wednesday if you like your rock on the heavy side (but not really metal) with real melody running through it. Actually, just check out their Bandcamp or the video below and then come out to the show.
Taken from a preview of the October 8, 2014 show in Savannah, GA by Tom Cartmel in Hissing Lawns Magazine
Lengthy interview with Caustic Casanova is HERE
Though they don’t sound like Kyuss, Caustic Casanova recalls those stoner wizards. Both bands take the overblown nature of hard rock and inflate it, resulting in absurdly muscled über-psych. Rather than cash in on cocaine-and-motorcycle wet dreams, though, Caustic Casanova takes their hard rock to cartoonish extremes, allowing themselves to sing lines like “short commute/live forever” with mostly straight faces. Bedowyn and The Manimals open.
taken from a preview by Corbie Hill of the July 13th show at Slim’s Downtown, Raleigh, NC
DC Rock Live
I am too lazy to look back at the number of reviews I have written on this local favorite of mine, so feel free to roam the archives. There has been a significant growth over this time, much of which due to the guitarist change some months back, so there is always plenty to look closely at while enjoying their sound. The good news is that the guitarist integration is pretty well complete and the band seems as comfortable as ever. They blend their songs with noisy transitions and play off each other well. Even the few times they seemed a little lost in between songs, they never veered from the formula. And that formula is to create intelligent and interesting alt-metal with plenty of psychedelic touches and rhythmic flourish. The songs are powerful with lots of personal twists that set them apart from the pack. It is best just to dive in and experience for yourself. And the good news is that from coast to coast, many cities will be getting that experience beginning next week. It is scary to think how much more together they may get when they return with a long tour’s worth of shows under their belt.
taken from a review by David Hintz of the July 6th show at The Rock and Roll Hotel, Washington, DC
Ticket Alternative Live Blog
This shredfest of a night in DC began with the hometown sound of Caustic Casanova. This group with revolving members hit the stage with what they call ‘Mark II,’ the trio consisting of Stefanie Zaenker, Francis Beringer, and Andrew Yonki. Zaenker’s drumming provided the relentless lead for the boys to squelch and wail over without hardly a breath in between. With the exception of a quick intro and shout out, CC basically weaved their set together seamlessly, beginning to end. Even the song they dubbed “slower” wasn’t much of a break for them, or the audience. Caustic Casanova is an intense way to start your night, that’s for sure.
taken from a review by Tommy Dingus of the April 17th show at The Black Cat, Washington, DC
DC Rock Live
This trio has long been a favorite of mine as they’ve graced many stages in the DC area for several years with creative prog-psyche nu-metal sounds. Their songwriting is more creative than most with intelligent lyrics and interesting vocal work. This is their second show with their new guitarist who now seamlessly fits in to their sound. His style is a little less startling, but his guitar sound has that heavy psyche vibe with great tonal control. I bet he doesn’t know he was warming up with a riff of Roy Harper’s “One Man Rock’n’Roll Band” (actually it was Jimmy Page playing that and this neither here nor there, but it was one of those lightning bolts in my brain) But back to the set, the sound worked out just well enough as the band’s vocals all worked out well with Stefanie’s backing vocals balanced perfectly as she manages to add a nice piercing presence in addition to her powerful drumming. There is a good crowd tonight that has discovered this band over the years. If you have not yet, the good news is that there is still time.
taken from a review by David Hintz of the March 23rd show at The Pinch, Washington, DC
DC Rock Live Review Link
DC Rock Live
I have been a big fan of the band and have reviewed them countless times (actually I have a record of all reviews, but am too lazy to do math today). It has been a while since I have seen them and there is an extra reason to see this band tonight. A while back, their guitarist moved many states away and although he is still a member of the band, it puts a crimp in their live shows, as they were a trio. The rhythm section had been playing as CC Light and they began the set with this lineup tonight. But, they debuted a local guitarist for the second half of their set which brought back some of their old sound. As CC Light, they still had the chops to be an effective band. The bass playing had always been intricate and flexible, so with a few more chords added, it carried tunes in rock and even funk mode. The drumming was also excellent but was even more dynamic with that added space to fill. But when the guitarist joined in, he captured that spacey psyche-alt metal feel that this band has always done so very well. He added plenty of energy too, and was ripping away nicely, although maybe a bit too much so, as he broke two strings at various points of the set–changing one while maintaining some feedback and sustain while the rhythm section jammed away. The last cut reminded me of Amon Duul II, although they ratcheted up the heavy. So the good news is to stay tuned in, Caustic Casanova is still a vibrant and welcome force on the scene and hopefully will get plenty more shows in 2013.
taken from a review of the January 28, 2013 show at Galaxy Hut, Arlington, VA
DC Rock Live Review Link
Somewhere after the break up of Bauhaus and the rise of Gene Loves Jezebel and Dead Can Dance, goth music became synonymous with ambient, drifting and forlorn sounds. That is to say, the general consensus of goth music was that it was wimpy. In a way, it’s unfortunate that goth became associated with such a tag because the founders and forefathers of the genre had some nasty, muscular guitars, such as Bernard Sumner, Daniel Ash, Robert Smith and even the mighty Tony Iommi. While Caustic Casanova do not explicitly refer to themselves as goth, they use many of the trappings of the genre including macabre lyrics, wailed vocals and a general sense of dread. But, in lieu of wispy ambiance, the band drives their music forward with classic rock/hard blues rock riffage which gives the music distinction but also, somewhat clouds up its ornateness.
Someday You Will Be Proven Correct finds the band swimming through dense, baroque songs, all of which are driven by the ghost of Howlin’ Wolf as filtered through rock. Guitarist Michael Wollitz tears out riff after riff. Wisely, instead of relying on a snappy riff alone, through each song he morphs the line so that it becomes wilder and more frantic. Much in the vein of the early blues rockers, the band often waylays into classic rock solos as well as lumbering, drone riffs. To Wollitz’s credit, the guitar lines are muscular and damn snappy. The massive blues riff has been done before, but Wollitz finds new ways to rock out, similar to early Danzig and Sabbath records.
But, while such an approach would normally suggest screamed or shouted vocals, the band opts to use the distanced wail of Peter Murphy and Ian Curtis. This creates an interesting contrast. The instruments are hot and vocals are cold, giving the songs an alien texture and otherworldliness. As with the riffs themselves, each song has multiple parts, shifting and exploring new areas, giving the songs a Renaissance feel in contrast to the current glut of garage rock monochromatic two-minute blasts.
Still, while the band does create an interesting animal, at times it seems too cluttered. The bass and guitars and drums and vocals are all interesting, and all continually evolving, but they seem to fight each other for space on the album. Instead of playing off each other, supporting each other or retreating to give one instrument spotlight, the trio almost always seems to run up against each other. In doing so, the ornateness of each element becomes a jumbled mass. It’s telling that on “Your Spirit Festooned on the Bed Posts/Short Commune, Live Forever” and “17:59,” where the band does back off and allow one instrument to take precedence, that they become both ornate and unique. It is here where both drummer Stefani Zaenker and bassist Francis Beringer put their instruments to shine and show just what unique and harrowing sounds they can pull up from the darkness.
Cacophony certainly isn’t always bad in music, and especially in goth (or goth-influenced bands) where cacophony is often the order of the day. Yet, cacophony is that much more powerful when there is order before it and even chaos itself can have some sort of organization. Caustic Casanova are figuring that out. They’ve got all the pieces they need, they just need to fit them together a little bit tighter.
After establishing themselves as a band that refuses to be pigeonholed, Caustic Casanova’s second full-length, Someday You Will Be Proven Correct, continues to show why their penchant for volume and eccentricity is a winning combination. The record kicks off at breakneck speed; allowing Stefanie Zaenker to add as many rolling drum fills as is humanly possible, while Micheal Wollitz and Francis Beringer play out their 90s geek-punk fantasies -not that there’s anything wrong with being “geeky”. Unlike their underground cohorts, the Washington trio are happy to come off as regular college kids who churn out unclassifiable rock with mechanistic precision. Sometimes that’s enough.
The Ripple Effect
An entirely savory amalgamation of stoner, post-punk, post metal, psychedelia, indie, and even a touch of space rock. In fact, there’s probably more mixed into the stew but my palate is too naive to detect it all. What I can say is that the concoction works and tastes magnificent. With a base stock of classic power-trio rock, the mad chefs of Caustic Casanova went wild in the kitchen mixing their cuisines, alternatingly adding some big chunks of meaty stoner riffs, some delicate flavorings of prog-esque space-rock passages, the occasional fire of punk pepper, and some indie spice, turned the whole thing up as high it would go and let it boil over. And that’s what Someday You Will Be Proven Correct does. Boils over in a mouthwatering burst of wild indie rock flavor. And when you have chefs this talented at their cooking you just know it’s gonna taste great.
3-side LP in a delicious gatefold cover gets the mouth watering. The band call themselves Heavy Rock. I’m not gonna argue. I’m just gonna pony up to the table and enjoy my feast.
Caustic Casanova are tricky business. A quick perusal of their physical product and you might think, like I did, that you’re not going to have time for these noisy scholars and their songs with titles like “Your Spirit Festooned on the Bedposts,” “There is No Need for Grammar on the Moon,” and “A Campfire of Your Own Awe,” and generally you don’t, but sometimes you gotta give some geeks a chance (because, like me, you are one too, deep down). Thankfully, this Washington trio has a set of balls on ‘em and aren’t afraid to heavy up their sweater n’ corduroy nerd rock, and so their sophomore album, Someday You Will Be Proven Correct, while strongly influenced by the hipster alt-rock of the 90s, is much more than college circuit fare. While opener “The Space Needle” might remind you of a more aggressive Sonic Youth, it’s the mid-album combination of “Short Commute, Live Forever” and “Infinite Happiness” that steals the show, a couple of melodic bulldozers in the vein of the Melvins, Torche, and Helms Alee. The album eventually winds down with some uber-indie incandescence (“Bulwark” and “The Unfathomable Heart”) and an experimental distraction (“17:59″), but when it’s all said and done, Caustic Casanova find a way to pack quite a punch into their pretension, ensuring that Someday You Will Be Proven Correct is good enough for girls with bangs and greasy beards like me.
The Soda Shop
As soon as the needle dropped I was spun right into “The Space Needle” is this fast paced punk number featuring a pretty deep amount of drum & bass mixed with some grunge era guitars ala Mudhoney. It rolls right into “Hail Fellow Well Met” which starts off mellow but really picks it up at the end. Reminded me a bit of 80′s British rock. “Penmanship” is next. It’s fast paced and could serve as a somewhat pick me up tune. That is, until it’s speeds up and gets really heavy and somewhat gritty. at the end. This side ends with “Your Spirit Festooned On The Bedposts” which is a short, mellow, and instrumental.
Side B opens with “Short Commute, Live Forever” which begins with a nice little drum beat as the rest of the instruments slowly begin to come in and then boom! It’s all out. This one has some damn good catchy guitar riffs. It runs right into the next track called “Infinite Happiness.” I didn’t even realize that I was into the next song they way they blend together. “There Is No Need For Grammar On The Moon” is next and is a short 49 second instrumental track. “Snake In The Grass” features some heavy and fuzzy guitar. Awesome riffs to go with the catchy tone. When it really picks up it takes on a somewhat punk/post punk-ish personality. “A Campfire Of Your Own Awe” closes out the side with a slow song.
“Bulwark” is a pretty mellow track to begin this side although it does have some faster moments. “17:59″ begins with some pretty trippy guitar picking. It slowly leads into more guitar and then the bass and drums. It’s an all instrumental track as well. It’s big at nearly 7 minutes long total. The final song, “The Unfathomable Heart” reminds me of something that The Cure would have put out in the 90′s. Not being a fan of The Cure I really couldn’t compare but that was the feeling I got from the little experience with The Cure that I do have. It gets a little trippy towards the end during the instrumental part of the song. It’s a cool song to end the album with too.
Side D has no music. Instead there is an etching of what appears to the footprints in sand leading to a campfire under the night sky with the moon complete with clouds.
This album was a blast to play and I played it at full blast, as you should too. You can stream the album in its entirety in the player below and even buy it by clicking on the player. If you want the vinyl copy, which is highly recommended by the way, do so here. CDs are also available if interested.
The Deli Magazine
Album of the Month, April 2012
The Onion AV Club nailed it when they described DC’s indie psyche sludge post-punk trio Caustic Casanova as “uniquely brainy hard rock, heavy yet clever in a Torche meets Dismemberment Plan kind of way.” That sound clearly eminates on their recent release Someday You Will Be Proven Correct (Mad Love Records) with 12 tracks drawing on numerous elements of rock.
If Jackass comes back around with another sequel, then “Hail Fellow Well Met” should be included on the soundtrack as it sounds like the lovechild of CKY and H.I.M. at times, and kinda makes me want to ride a shopping cart through Occupy K St.
“Bulwark”, the stand-out track in my opinion, has a tinge of 90’s alt and a darker undertone compared to the other tracks. Then the breakdowns kick in fuck-yeah style as the lyrics “whether coming or going, I want to be where you are, sleep safe tonight” are crooned and echoed over the piles of scuzz and fuzz.
“17:59”, a superb instrumental, is the pivotal sludge build-up track that when played live will most likely get you visiting the merch table, or walking out of the venue post show with a new local favorite on your mind and a download waiting to happen at home.
Nobody does intellectual hard rock music better right now than this band.
As anyone who spent some time listening to their impressive 2008 debut album ‘Imminent Eminence’ will probably tell you – the advancement of Caustic Casanova in a genre quite often overcrowded and most definitely competitive was clearly guaranteed. It takes something good to make itself big enough to be heard above the noise of every other rabble rousing, strenuous riff making, rock and roll band. Relying on the music you make to lift you above the throng (which is as it should be) and not the ‘in your face’ attention grabbing gimmicks some employ to help push themselves into pole position – is what truly separates the genuine from the fakers. Here then, is ‘genuine‘, and second album ‘Someday You Will Be Proven Correct’ – is what ‘genuine’ does.
The pounding drumbeat that navigates opening track ‘The Space Needle’ so brilliantly is emulated with same proficiency by the scuzz-fuelled guitar that wraps itself around second track ‘Hail Fellow Well Met’. If – as some would have us believe – the first 2 songs of any album need to be strong enough to pull you in for the duration – this might be what they’re talking about. A solidly muscular dual aggression that rattles you for almost 11 minutes in the most cohesively bruising manner is always going to be victorious in any fight to drag you inside. Layer upon layer of intensity – built one upon the other – gives life to a corrupt menacing hybrid of controlled vociferation. The creative dexterity of Caustic Casanova is broad in scope and doesn’t allow itself to go unexplored or restrained in ‘safe’ mode, but instead it roams with the liberation that such confidence and self belief brings as reward. Veering between slow-mo stoner metal anthem ‘Penmanship’, psychotropic rock mash ‘Infinite Happiness‘ and the 10 minute presentation of wondrous versatility that unfurls epic masterpiece ‘The Unfathomable Heart’ will surely serve to teach those who listen how to create something unique from ancient building blocks. This is a cleverness to be celebrated and an inventiveness that shall inspire. If progressive, forward thinking rock music is something you’d like to explore further then this album is currently the best place to go and find it.
DC Rock Live
This local power trio is back from South by Southwest and a surrounding week-long tour which hopefully got them a few new fans hungry for their twisted take on hard rock music. Their half-hour set on the big stage featured heavily from music from their recent album. Their usual psychedelic take on alt-metal went over well with a rather small crowd tonight. Only about 30-35 present, but the crowd was enthusiastic and made its way up front. They are opening for a wild Japanese metal band it struck me that this band would do extremely well over in Japan. Ah, but for the costs and logistical issues that would propose. But Japan’s loss is our gain. For although there are lots of great bands in the DC area, here is one that adds a highly unique flavor to the mix. It is nice to see them at the Black Cat as part of this interesting bill.
taken from a review of the 3/24/12 show by David Hintz at The Black Cat, Washington, DC
Music She Blogged
In my opinion this new album has taken those ‘big shoes’ Chris mentioned needed filling, and filled them so tight that they actually stretched them the fuck out, leaving Washington’s other bands with smaller looking feet than ever before. Although the vocals aren’t my favourite ever, which is probably only because my computer speakers are super shitty so don’t quote me on that, the guitar solos make up for it tenfold, and I find myself getting lost rocking out with my head down and my tits up, enjoying every song on this album and still wanting more after 12 songs.
Space City Rock (Houston, TX)
Closing out Day Nine, there’s Caustic Casanova…a pretty darn cool bluesy, sludgy rock band that merges classic-rock sensibilities with vocals that are occasionally oddly Robert Smith-like (yes, as in The Cure), some limber funk basslines, and stoner-rock’s spaceward-pointing lyrics.
Caught In The Carousel
Building on the promise of their inventive and idiosyncratic debut album, this D.C. outfit return with a sophomore effort that retains all of that invention and brings it to a whole new musical level. Literary, political and tangentially astral, Someday You Will Be Proven Correct is an energetic blast of sci-fi postpunk. “The Space Needle” sounds like The Pixies on the moon, the slow-motion metal of “Penmanship” is expertly executed and “Infinite Happiness” is a feral rave-up. Elsewhere, “Snake In The Grass” is a bass-heavy workout, “Bulwark” is as thoughtful as it is propulsive and the album closing “The Unfathomable Heart” is a nearly ten-minute epic that’s got muscle, heart and deft musical smarts.
—Alex Green (author the 33 1/3 book on The Stone Roses)
KSCR University of Southern California Radio
I’m used to having to preface a lot of bands with the phrase “psych-tinged,” but I am oh-so-happy to report that Caustic Casanova is a full-fledged psychedelic hard rock power trio that would rather spend its time writing bizarre liner notes and astral instrumentals than merely dipping its toes in a subgenre. The album starts off weak, but by the time they’ve festooned your spirit to a bedpost, they’re in the groove, they’ve reached another plane, they took the right drugs—take your pick. Take the Black Lips, mate the vocalist with an angry progeny of Stephen Malkmus, crank it up to 11, and you start to have an idea of where Caustic Casanova likes to go with their sound. “Infinite Happiness” is the best example of why psychedelic hard rock is a great thing. “Bulwark” is a nice slow jam and shows the band at its most Pavement-takes-acid. And you should play aforementioned astral instrumental “There Is No Need For Grammar On The Moon” because it’s fucking called “There Is No Need For Grammar On The Moon.”
The Onion AV Club
And since we’re on the subject of Merry Olde Emo: Once upon a time, seeing the words “produced by J. Robbins” on an album meant there was a pretty good chance it rocked, perhaps in an emotional kind of way. Robbins—himself the leader of post-hardcore legend Jawbox—has since gone on to produce quite a few not-so-great bands, as is every producer’s bill-paying prerogative. Which makes it extra refreshing to hear Caustic Casanova’s Someday You Will Be Proven Correct. The Robbins-produced album is a blistering showcase of the co-ed D.C. outfit’s uniquely brainy hard rock. Heavy yet clever in a Torche-meets-Dismemberment Plan kind of way—yes, it’s that addictively strange—Someday leaves a complex, acidic aftertaste. And it shows that Robbins still knows how to pick ’em.
by Jason Heller in the “Loud” Column for March 7, 2012
DC Rock Live
Lengthy interview with Caustic Casanova here http://dcrocklive.blogspot.com/2012/03/caustic-casanova-interview-february.html
CAUSTIC CASANOVA “SOMEDAY YOU WILL BE PROVEN CORRECT”
(MAD LOVE RECORDS)
RELEASED? Out now.
SOUNDS LIKE? Ted Nugent banging away at Jilted John, or Henry Rollins in a sit com with Emo Philips. So, you’ll know, already, that we have that impossible thing, ‘A heavy rock trio from Washington, DC’ who have intelligence, humour and they’re not afraid to use ’em. So, forget all of that Ted Nugent guff, Caustic Casanova are The Eels gone rawk, they are They Might Be Giants on steroids and they could be important. Why? Well, it’s like this, America is still a big deal, all those nukes and what have you and it’s bad news when the world sees America as the home of the dumb, the racist and corrupt. So it’s good news that Springsteen and Streisand start showing some spine, but it’s better news when even the dumb genre bands can show Americans as smart, lyrically agile, fun bunnies who’d rather take the piss than steal the oil. In short, on paper, Caustic Casanova are a band you’d normally sneer at, heavy rock, unknown, USA, but in the real world they’ can chop n shop the rawk as you like it and tickle your funny bone at the same time.
IS IT ANY GOOD? I think that ‘YES’ is the word we’re looking for here.
We dug the last album we heard from this Washington, D.C.-based trio that was released in 2008 (Imminent Eminence). It’s taken these guys a few years to record the follow up but it was well worth the wait. Someday You Will Be Proven Correct is a smart and creative blast of hard modern rock played with conviction and skill. Caustic Casanova is comprised of Francis Beringer (bass, vocals), Michael Wollitz (guitars, vocals), and Stefanie Zaenker (drums, vocals). But just cuz they’re a mere trio don’t think you’re going to hear a thin wimpy sound. These three musicians pack a powerful punch and their overall intensity is more mindblowing than bands twice their size. But this isn’t just volume for the sake of volume. These songs are smart, intricate, and surprisingly complex…often employing some very unusual instrumentation and peculiar time signatures. After spinning this a few times we can certainly see why it took some time to write and record these compositions…a great deal of thought, time, and skill was obviously poured into these tracks. Killer powerhouse drums…pile-driving bass lines…precise difficult guitar riffs…and vocals that really kick. Who could ask for anything more? Mesmerizing cuts include “The Space Needle,” “Snake In The Grass,” and “The Unfathomable Heart.” Way cool…
written by LMNOP aka dONW7
DC Rock Live
Speaking of seeing bands a lot…, but actually it has been a lot less frequent the last year or so. But I was not going to miss tonight as this local trio are releasing their long awaited album (see my review). They played it in full which is a perfectly good idea as it flows so very well and showcases all their amazing styles bundled together. Old psyche, new psyche, alt metal, classic rock, dreamy prog… all with interesting slightly off kilter vocal work and slashing dynamic shifts of power and volume. The set went almost an hour and unfortunately it was getting late, so some of the crowd had filtered out. But hopefully they bought a record before they went home, as this music is strong and sounds fresh after multiple listens (at least the 5 listens I have done so far in less than a week). They are headed to Mecca (Austin) and will pick up some tour dates around that, so hopefully lots of intelligent heavy music fans will discover this band that is still a little bit too under the radar around here.
taken from a review of the 2/17/12 show by David Hintz at The Velvet Lounge, Washington, DC
DC Rock Live
Long one of my favorite local power trios, it is nice to see them realease this album. The live set has always impressed me with the eclectic manner they mix hard rock, psychedelic rock, alt-metal and quirky songwriting into an original and at times unpredictable set. They recorded this record with J. Robbins at the Board, which usually leads to good results. The results are not only good, but even better than I expected. The sound is strong with great clarity for all instruments. The guitar work is varied with plenty of psychedelic swirl mixed into thick power chords and mobil fingerwork. The bass playing is solid and even heads into John Entwistle territory at times as it thickly carries melodic lines. The drums are strong and hold it all together as you would expect. The vocal work is intense with a twisted sense of humor. At times, they channel one of my favorite hard rock art bands, MX-80 Sound. But there is an accessible quality at work as well that I also have seen in the Entrance Band, another fine modern psychedelic band. This is a highly successful effort that I have already played several times. The album flows well and there is not a bad note in the bunch.
Songs to try out:
Short Commute, Live Forever – This commute has a lot of ess curves, but it is a fun ride.
A Campfire of Your Own Awe – Quiet Sebadoh like head trip breaks up the heavy sounds.
17:59/The Unfathomable Heart – Around eight minutes of psychedelic jams lead into a an even longer song that floats over the landscape before settling into grounded fields of noise.
Review By David Hintz at http://dcrocklive.blogspot.com/2012/02/record-reviews-february-2012.html
WCUR The Curve 91.7 West Chester, PA
The trio, Caustic Casanova, will definitely shake your speakers up with their hard rock tenor. Operating out of Washington D.C. they have a nice use of female vocals to soften some of the songs, while others are strictly instrumental, organized jam sessions. With wonderful bass, guitar, and drum solos this band makes one truly appreciate each instrument on its own. When they all come together a quirky, powerful, funky, memorable sound is born.
Review of Someday You Will Be Proven Correct by Mallory Spencer at http://www.wcur.org/2012/caustic-casanova/
DC Rock Live
I haven’t seen one of my favorite local trios in a while, so I was looking forward to this show. They immediately connected with their original brand of off-metal, slight psyche, quirky and powerful rock music. If you have not heard them, the vocals are a bit Richard Hell/Rich Stim(MX-80 Sound) in nature atop powerful drums, inventive bass lines and strong rock guitar. There are quirky angular moves in their songs that set them apart from the sludgy pack and always make them a treat to listen to. They covered the intro to Black Sabbath’s “Lord of this World” but segued it into one of their songs. They finished with nice Husker Du choice, “Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill”, which medleyed into something else as well. So there is plenty of playfulness here along with a great variety of heavy music and good original songs. The band was sharp and this may have been their finest show I have seen. Their energy level was about as high as I’ve seen. By all means, check this band out next time if you have not sampled them. You will likely see me there.
taken from a review of the 8/23/11 show at The Velvet Lounge, Washington, DC by David Hintz
DC Rock Live
It’s been many months since I have seen one of my favorite local trios. They have been busy recording and are starting to play out again. The key to their success is the diversity in their sound. Just when you pigeonhole them in a genre like psyche, indie rock, metal or whatever, they twist their sound around in another direction. They may be a bit too slippery for some listeners, but it keeps me coming back for more. I have found that by the third time I see a band, I run out of things to say unless they have some interesting new material and sounds. These guys generally succeed at this and did so tonight as well. They sounded strong, controlled feedback well and came up with a modern take on an American post-hardcore reminding me a bit of Happy World or the Undead (Bobby Steele). Well, if that is too confusing, note that they did well covering a Death from Above 1979 song. Good half-hour set to get this show rolling.
taken from a review of the 3/10/11 show at DC9, Washington, DC by David Hintz
Caught in the Carousel
Namechecking James Joyce, Stonewall Jackson and Facebook, Caustic Casanova’s Imminent Eminence takes a long, mistrustful look at the modern world and its inhabitants, resulting in singer Michael Wollitz declaring, “I hate everyone I want to like.” An innovative trio from Washington D.C., Caustic Casanova’s debut is rife with youthful frustration about everything from technology to artificial relationships to Florida’s zoning ordinances. As varied as their subject matter, their aural attack is just as varied: for starters, there’s the jazzy hard rock of “I Hate Everyone I Want To Like”; the crunchy pop of “Titian Titillation” and the ethereal acoustica of “Mythical July.” An accomplished trio—drummer Stefanie Zaenker is just marvelous and bassist Francis Beringer is refreshingly innovative—Caustic Casanova play a winning and almost conversational brand of indie prog rock. Take for example, “The Town Crier” which finds Wollitz railing against superficiality of friends: “But in reality, you could outline in bullet point form the extent of my interest in these matters with the blunt tip of a permanent marker on the rim of a shot glass.” Elsewhere, the straight up funk of “Five Flag Forest” brings to mind Suck On This-era Primus; “Regolithic Rachel” has a dreamy start that morphs into a metal jam and “The Soft Machinery Of Success” is a hard-edged bluesy number that urges: “…let’s swim in blood and money together,” as if to suggest you can’t sell out without getting your hands a bit dirty. A splendid debut.
DC Rock Live
The power trio is back after a longish hiatus. They are working on a new album and brought along some new songs to go with a few of the good ones I recall from past shows. The first Hawkwind/Amon Duul II psyche jam makes way for a post 2nd album Wire kind of song with maybe a touch of Pavement? They soldiered on nicely and [got] a thicker sound as the night went on and rocked the house pretty effectively. I liked a new song they played which sounded like Swell Maps succeeding in trying to sound like the Damned. Still one of my favorites and hopefully they will be one of yours some day soon.
taken from a review of the 9/10/10 show at The Rock n Roll Hotel, Washington, DC by David Hintz
DC Rock Live
This show is the last DC show for a while as the band will be doing some recording into the summer which should prove interesting. And it was a solid send off. The early part of the set had a twisted art damaged punk sound which really worked well with the guitar and bass battling atop the solid drumming. The set finished with two great long psyche jams that were songs and not just mindless jamming. Their theme was New Mexico tonight (St. Louis previously) and they are at a far more rapid pace to go through the country than Sufjan Stevens ever will. An excellent DC band that hopefully will be delivering some of their fine songs on a CD for each and every one of you.
taken from a review of the 4/11/10 show at The Velvet Lounge, Washington, DC by David Hintz
DC Rock Live
The second time for me, seeing this local three-piece. They were chatting with me before-hand and said they had 50 songs in their itinerary and also try to do different covers regularly. I think that is really helpful, as when I see local bands too many times in a row, I feel like I am reviewing the same show. Not here. The general sound for this band is still hard psychedelic rock. They space out quite nicely or garage it up when they feel like it. Just call it rock, as it does. They medlied a couple covers, and the second one I spotted as Nirvana’s “Floyd the Barber”. They remind me of one of my favorites, Motorpsycho, in that it is hard to pin them down, which is a good thing when it is done well. They are not quite Motorpsycho yet, but they will do nicely as we are not in Norway. Hopefully, more people will discover this band, show by show. On an unimportant note, the guitarist really looks like Glenn Cornick.
taken from a review of the 2/26/10 show at Asylum, Washington, DC by David Hintz
DC Rock Live
This DC band has some records out and t-shirts, so they have been around a bit. They began with a slow building psyche-fest that ended loud and faster in a Kohoutek manner. Ergo, the Velvet Lounge is the perfect venue for this sound. They varied things a bit between psyche and hard rock with arty vocal moves reminding me a bit of MX-80 Sound (yes, I’ve used this reference at least three times previously, but it explains things nicely even if they are obscure). The bass sound fuzzed out a bit too loudly at times, but it settled. His playing was quite good [and the bass] acted like an extra guitar at times. They also reminded me a bit of a really nice band I’ve seen many times, Entrance Band. Good show all the way around tonight.
taken from a review of the 1/13/10 show at The Velvet Lounge, Washington, DC by David Hintz
Imminent Eminence…is a pretty cool little item. Actually, I’m not sure “little” is the word as this thing times in at very close to the max playing time for the 80-minute recordable medium. Oft-times, such album-lengths make me nervous, sometimes they make me weary and too often they bore me to tears. Still, CAUSTIC CASANOVA (from the nation’s capital) have a lot to say and they say it really well. A trio (Francis Beringer – bass / vox, Michael Wolitz – guitar / vox, Stefaine Zaenker – drums), they bring in a slew of influences ranging from the distorted noise-rawk of Sonic Youth to the pop-grunge of Queens Of The Stone Age to the occasional leaden Sabbathy rhythm to vocals that run the gamut from parts country to Brit-pop to even stage-struttin’-Plant-isms. They succeed because they end up bringing ALL that stuff in and, somehow, still not sounding directly like any of them. Listen to a cut like “Anhedonia” or, say, “The Town Crier.” Can you say they sound like anything you’ve really heard before? Another thing CC does that I like is that, while some of their stuff appears to slide by without hooks, a 2nd listen will let that elusive memorable series of notes take hold in your brain. CAUSTIC CASANOVA are a band that stand out to me because I can honestly say I’ve never heard anything quite like them before. Come to think of it, that’s some pretty decent praise and I urge you to give this bunch a real shot. This album may be a lot to take in at once…I’m still getting new stuff out of it each time through. In the long run, I think you’ll be glad you dropped ‘em a line.
A Very Short 72 Minutes
“Imminent Eminence” starts off with what sounds like a long-lost title theme to some kind of Morricone-scored cowboy movie and this is just the first example of the ridiculously varied mixture of sounds that this band displays in an equally ridiculous album length of nearly seventy-five minutes! However, even if you’re not a patient person the album seems to go by quickly, while at the same time managing to sound like at least three of your favorite bands.
A large chunk this album is very shoegazey – but I don’t mean that in a bad way. There’s an equal mix of speedy TELEVISION-like songs, too. Overall, these guys (and girl) have created a very satisfying album that for the most part manages to avoid overindulgence, a common and fatal flaw that plagues far too many bands to mention. Rating 4/5
Caustic Casanova’s explosive album “Imminent Eminence” really leaves a well deserved impression upon the listener. They will gladly provide you with a catchy riff, but don’t get too comfortable because this band is going to send your ears on a far more interesting journey. Members include Michael Wollitz on guitar and vocals, Francis Beringer on bass and vocals, and Stefanie Zaenker on the drums. Each member is clearly individually talented, and together they create a genuine sound that perfectly mixes the alternative, rock and roll, and experimental genres. The first track off of the album, “Are We Doing This?”, immediately catches the listener’s attention with a soft, electric guitar riff. High pitched vocal harmonies follow; a definite ear-opener. The second track, “I Hate Everyone I Want to Like”, is exciting, upbeat, and begins to roadmap the general sound of the band. The song never looses its appeal as it twists and turns through a variety of different tunes. Track three, “Little White Lie” demonstrates the darker influence of metal, but the chorus jumps into a deliciously punk sound. The acoustic song “Mythical July” is a beautiful intermission from the perfect distortion of the rest of the album. The following song “This Milieu of Effete Weaponry” starts out with a completely funky bass riff, leaving the listener a little bit surprised and incredibly impressed. While they have been compared to Nirvana and bands of the like, Caustic Casanova shell out far more variety and kick ass riffs.
Intelligent lyrics and a diverse musical style make Caustic Casanova’s Imminent Eminence incomparable. The album begins with a noisy, eccentric instrumental entitled “Are We Doing This?” The alt-rock song, “I Hate Everyone I Want to Like,” is a scathing commentary on the shallowness of 21st century existence. “Little White Lie” is loud, heavy, and fast, and “Titian Titillation” is a likeable pop-punk tune about a rocky relationship. Caustic Casanova ventures into acoustic folk rock territory with “Mythical July” and does a decent job of it. On the high energy and slightly funky, “This Milieu of Effete Weaponry” and some of the other tracks, the lead vocalist sounds exactly like Frank Black. The heavy rockin’ “The Town Crier” is a song about gossip and features attention-grabbing, contrasting rhythmic changes. “Five Flag Forest” has a Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe to it, and “Regolithic Rachel” is a semi-mellow rock tune about growing apart from someone. The lyrics are particularly effective at getthing their point across. “It’s the people who love us the most that we never seem to notice. And so to characterize my love, I’d have to say it’s hopeless.” Other heavy hitters include “Glossolalia,” “Anhedonia,” “The Soft Machinery of Success,” “The March to the Sky (Softshell),” and the most radio-friendly song on the album (if there is one), “Baby Fat.” If you like heavy rock, art rock, and noise bands, you will love Caustic Casanova.
WLUR FM Washington and Lee University Radio
Blazing through 14 tracks, DC’s Caustic Casanova cover styles ranging from Pixies punk to Sabbath riffage. Imminent Eminence brims with fizzy and ragged drums and stirring guitars as featured on the ode to love gone awry ‘Titian Titillation.’ The heavier elements of Imminent Eminence come through on ‘Anhedonia,’ with fuzzed-out bass and feedback-laden guitars.
[Imminent Eminence] is somewhat of an enigma, in that it defies easy categorization. It has moments of heaviness, moments of hippiness, and moments of greatness. There’s occasional Dandy Warhols, Sabbath and Queens Of The Stone Age coming through in Caustic Casanova’s repertoire of songs, to be sure. In the long run, Imminent Eminence is an album rife with riffs. Just give the platter a chance to work it’s mojo and win you over.
Music She Blogged
Hailing from Washington DC, one of the latest three piece post rock experimental bands, Caustic Casanova has some big shoes to fill. Up against other hometown heroes like Minor Threat, Bad Brains and Fugazi, CC come out strong with their first full length studio album Imminent Eminence.
Although this is an ambitious album, with incorporation of experimental rock, bossanova beats and a dash of classical finger picked guitar, Caustic Casanova put forth a valiant effort. Taking cues from bands like Queens of the Stone Age, CC uses the back and forth play of ominous ambient sounds and crunchy driving bass lines which kept me interested throughout.
It also contains some tracks that take me back to the days of minimalist moody rock (tracks 2, 6..etc), and I can’t help but think that these guys had The Cramps on repeat in the studio while recording the vocals. After having a full listen to the album, I can’t help but feel a little emotionally unstable. Imminent Eminence was a big album with lots of sound.
All in all Caustic Casanova’s Imminent Eminence was an emotionally charged 72 minutes of experimental rock, the likes of which I have never experienced. Those of you that like Queens Of the Stone Age, The Cure, Pixies.. etc should definitely take a listen, it will be worth your time!
Washington D.C rock trio Caustic Casanova have created a rather good record here. Imminent Eminence clocks in at around 70 minutes, a rare thing these days. Within it can be found some great examples of rock music. It bounds from laid back moments of minimalism to very obvious, but very good, crunching, garage rock defiance. Their versatility is conspicuous by its presence on songs like ‘Town Crier’ with its strong poppy type vibe, to ‘Glossolalia’ with that aforementioned stripped back rock and roll vibe. Not only does their music straddle various barriers their song-titles seem determined to stand out from the crowd too, especially the obscurely named ‘This Milieu Of Effete Weaponry’ being the perfect example of such esotericism. But obscure titles would be nothing but pretentious rhetoric had they not the meat of good music to support the ambiguity. Caustic Casanova have ensured the ‘clothes make the man’ with incredible panache and it’s a really good album to boot.
This is the fourth record by Caustic Casanova, they have released an EP and two other CDs. This is what they consider to be their first proper album and they have been in existence since 2005. Their LP offers a scattering of tracks that differ in style; their strengths as a band are really good musically. Stefanie Zaenker, Francis Beringer and Michael Wollitz work very well in a rhythmic, heavy way. Working as a three piece is a strong formula in rock, key examples being the Minutemen, Husker Du, and the Jam. Caustic Casanova provides strong, musically unfussy arrangements just like these bands. They truly have a bonded rhythm section overlaid with a good guitarist. Although Caustic Casanova carry the rock tradition of being a strong 3 piece, they are sonically from the same school as underground indie legends Poster Children.
Caustic Casanova seem to go into fifth gear on track 5, Glossolalia, and then they sound like a really good indie rock band. The vocal performances and all of Caustic Casanova’s elements gel really well. It almost seems they are good riff masters holding themselves back, but from Glossolalia – Anhedonia, they really let loose in all sections and bounce off each other like crazy. Mythical July takes it down to singer and acoustic guitar but then it heavies up to full effect after this, with This Milieu of Effete Weaponry providing rhythmic bounce, solid rifferamma and excellent jamming. Two vocalists together here seem to work well, more of that please. The Soft Machinery of Success offers several passages of different styles melded well into one track.
Overall Imminent Eminence turns into a strong Indie Rock album as it peaks more and more with each track. There are strong tracks and a lot of potential should Caustic Casanova further build on their existing strengths. They openly list their influences and wear them on their sleeves, I mentioned Poster Children as an example I would also urge them to repeatedly listen to Bitch Magnet’s albums; Ben Hur, Umber and Starbooty. Bitch Magnet is an example of a band that utilised similar strengths to those of Caustic Casanova. As an album I did not warm to at first, gradually I was won over to being impressed. Here’s to eventually finding the answers in all the right places.
So many twenty-first century artists bury their songs underneath multiple layers of technological sound. Nowadays when you hear a real artist playing music without all the excessive gloss it tends to sound rather…strange. Caustic Casanova is the Washington, D.C.-based trio consisting of Francis Beringer, Michael Wollitz, and Stefanie Zaenker. On the humorously-titled Imminent Eminence these folks present fourteen rock songs in which lyrics are an integral part of the equation. The band has a real and obvious sense of humor…and their words are strikingly poignant. Musically, the tracks on this album remind us of many of the underground guitar bands from the 1990s who were playing for a very esoteric audience. In some ways, this band’s overall sound and ideology reminds us of Redd Kross…but only slightly. Intriguing tracks include “Are We Doing This?”, “I Hate Everyone I Want To Like,” “Glossolalia,” and “Mythical July.” These folks display great potential. Their energy is real and undiluted. (Rating: 4++++)
The Chickenfish Speaks
At times Caustic Casanova has a very raw early punk sound. There are other instances where their music is more refined with an early ‘90s underground feel to it. I really enjoyed the guitar work on “This Milieu of Effete Weaponry” which clocks in at an epic 10:35, but manages to stay fresh throughout. While their groove has various layers, the underlying punk feel with heavy guitar and untrained vocals remain throughout the album. This is one I dig right now, but feel I will like it even more with each listen.
— Mite Mutant (2009)
WRUV 90.1 FM Burlington, VT
Caustic Casanova’s latest, Imminent Eminence, pulls their sound from many different bands from the late 80’s and early 90’s. The influences range from The Cure and Bauhaus to King Missile and even a little Dead Milkmen. The track Titian Titillation even has hint of a metal power ballad. There’s also a heavy bass sound, again reminiscent of the late 80’s Goth scene. There’s a lot going on but they are able to keep it all together without sounding too disjointed. They do a good job of recreating that late 80’s early 90’s Goth/ Alternative sound. I’m sure these guys watched 120 Minutes with Dave Kendall back in the day.
We really enjoyed [Imminent Eminence], this band has mucho talent. You can really hear the Primus influences. Check them out!
There was a period in the late 80’s / early 90’s that would have suited Caustic Casanova perfectly. Back when the Pixies didn’t hate each other (as much), REM were less suicidal, Bob Mould was mellowing out and people still bought B52’s records. Because that pretty much sums up the sound and feeling of this Caustic Casanova album.
Clever, quirky, laid back and catchy (if not a little too student-ie), Caustic Casanova have an air of optimism and freshness about them that’s been lacking from the music scene for well over a decade now.
The tracks are very stripped down, with some nice pacing throughout, amply provided by the rhythm section – and with the odd novelty bit thrown into the songs for variation as well.
Overall? Good, summery, poppy tunes that its hard not to tap your foot to!
The Dreaded Press
An intriguing listen…Majestically morose proto-grunge…tunneling through the turgid corpse of rock and punk in a similar direction [as] Pixies and Sonic Youth.
Caustic Casanova is a power trio based in Washingto, DC – Michael Wollitz: guitar, keyboard, and vocals; Francis Beringer: bass, harmonica, and vocals; Stefanie Zaenker: drums and vocals.
Their debut album was Old Habits Die Hard met with public and critical acclaim. They have become somewhat famous, not only in the home area but in some other parts of this world. I really don’t know what to make of this “study/history” by a Cambridge professor that has been part of band marketing for some time. But I find “The Town Crier” an interesting piece from Imminent Eminence (January 2008). Ditto for “The March to the Sky.” It might be a bit much to call them giants and say that their thoughts are our thoughts. But it’s a good band, after all.
It’s understandable to want to claim, “I was there at the beginning.” It’s another thing to actually do it. Should these folks continue to work as a band, they might last long enough to be the beginning. Are they The Pixies or The B52s? Remains to be seen.
Caustic Casanova are a welcoming band. They bring new enthusiasm to music at the College, a group more concerned with playing music the way they feel it should be rather than meeting the requests of trends and movements out and away from Williamsburg. The trio of Stefanie Zaenker, Michael Wollitz and Francis Beringer have been together but eight months , and have already recorded two full length albums, have begun working on a third, and continue to perform with staggering frequency. The band is indeed a force that, in a live setting, laces its components into an often blistering fuzz of gloried hard rock.
Despite claims that Caustic Casanova are the campus’s heaviest group, accusations of riff abuse are lost on the band. Beringer finds the campus perception of the band to be, “Hilarious. Our sound is pretty varied but we are generally playing “alternative” or blues based rock n roll. Despite this people see us as this unbelievably heavy group. Compared to the rest of the campus music scene, which is either pop rock or acoustic, we are the heaviest band, but in the grand scheme of things we’re just hard rock.” I myself am very guilty of this association, but it was admittedly my first whiskey-soaked exposure to the band that placed lightning bolts in my brain that had me screaming “Riff Royalty!” Not that this was a base interpretation. It was the idea that no local band had played a song for more the 5 minutes, had succeeded in improvisation and experimentation, and that the group was concerned with themselves and the music more than with anyone’s interpretation that had me so alarmed and enthused. For here were Caustic Casanova saving us from the banality of historically derivative William and Mary bands.
The band discussed the quality of music at W&M, citing a lack of interest in new bands and student pretense. Beringer offered a list of problems with music at the College: “First, people don’t come out to shows unless they know the band. Second, variety is almost nonexistent. Third, many of the ‘music’ people on campus don’t really seem to care abou cultivating any interest in campus bands, which is a shame.” Wollitz expressed similar sentiment, finding problems with “the narrowness of perspective and the lack of emphasis on originality,” at the College. Caustic Casanova are doing all they can to change the stagnation. They have just completed their second LP, Official Moustache of Portuguese Cricket, recorded in downtown Ludwell Apartments Studios in sunny Williamsburg. The album, in contrast with their previous Old Habits Die Hard, was recorded in a more open-ended fashion than the last. “This time around instead of choosing a specific week to record all of our songs, we took a more relaxed approach, recording the songs at our leisure as they became perfected,” Zaenker said. Wollitz added, “Case in point, ‘Con Mi Novio’ was, when I brought it to the band, a short punchy tune. But we started playing with the arrangement, including jamming it out some. One day we decided to turn on the tapes and just let the vibe roll and see what would happen, and boom! next thing we know it is a sixteen minute epic.” The album offers a new diversity for the band. In addition to improvisation, Beringer said, “The new record has two acoustic songs and an instrumental, so it’s got a totally different sound in that respect.” He added that the record is strong, emphasizing confidence in the quality of the band’s writing – true growth for the group. “We truly love playing together, and it feels like the three of us have been together for even longer than we have been,” Wollitz said.
Keeping busy seems to be the key to progress for the band, as they are planning to record their third LP in Virginia Beach later this spring. For all their confidence and commitment, the bands seems afraid of only one thing, stopping. Never stop.
taken from “Williamsburg’s Finest Band” by Eric Marth