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 getting 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.
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.
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++++)
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.
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!
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