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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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—Somedayleaves a complex, acidic aftertaste. And it shows that Robbins still knows how to pick ’em
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…
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
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.
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.