Brian Carpenter's Beat Circus Announce Final Installment in 'Weird American Gothic' Trilogy
These Wicked Things is the fourth release from the determinedly eclectic Boston-based band Beat Circus and the final installment in singer/multi-instrumentalist/composer Brian Carpenter's "Weird American Gothic" trilogy. The record bridges a number of disparate genres including experimental music, cowpunk, post-punk, Mexican folk music, mariachi music, and Italian giallo soundtracks. The cover and booklet include a 18-page graphic novelette by renowned Croatian artist Danijel Zezelj, best known for his live paintings, multimedia, and collaborations with DC Comics/Vertigo.
Brian Carpenter formed Beat Circus in 2002 shortly after his arrival in Boston and since then, he's been the ensemble's guiding light and sole constant member. He has recorded or performed with Swans, Kronos Quartet, Colin Stetson, Marc Ribot, and Roswell Rudd, and collaborated with producers Martin Bisi (Dreamland, 2008), Sean Slade and Bryce Goggin (Boy From Black Mountain, 2009). Returning on These Wicked Things are drummer Gavin McCarthy (Karate, Thalia Zedek Band), bassist Paul Dilley (Reverend Glasseye), and guitarist Andrew Stern (Brian Carpenter & The Confessions). Relative newcomers include violinist Abigale Reisman (Tredici Bacci), violist Emily Bookwalter (Ghost Train Orchestra), and multi-instrumentalist Alec Spiegelman (Cuddle Magic), all three of whom worked with Carpenter on The Barbary Coast in San Francisco.
These Wicked Things began in Berkeley, California when Carpenter was commissioned by the Berkeley Repertory Theater to compose music and lyrics for Dominic Orlando's play The Barbary Coast in 2014. Based on the true crime book by Herbert Asbury (Gangs of New York), The Barbary Coast detailed the violent rise of San Francisco in the late 1800s. The play centers around Joaquin Murieta, the real-life inspiration for Zorro, a Mexican who went on a notorious revenge spree after his wife Rosita was killed by gold miners. Two versions of "Rosita" and some incidental music from the play are included.
After recording These Wicked Things with Beat Circus at the legendary Q Division Studios in Boston, Carpenter flew out to Tucson, Arizona to mix the record with esteemed producer Craig Schumacher(Calexico, Neko Case, Giant Sand.) Carpenter worked with Schumacher previously on his singer/songwriter outing The Far End of the World (2015, Accurate.) Special guests on These Wicked Things include trumpeter Jacob Valenzuela of Calexico, bass saxophonist Dana Colley of Morphine, and guitarist Stephen Ulrich of the NYC guitar noir trio Big Lazy.
These Wicked Things is the band's first release in ten years, following Boy From Black Mountain (Cuneiform Records) in 2009. During this period, Carpenter released four critically-acclaimed albums with Ghost Train Orchestra in Brooklyn, NY, and a critically-acclaimed debut album with Brian Carpenter & The Confessions.
"Carpenter is equally drawn to the avant-garde as he is to the old, rural, and gothic. He has interests in free jazz and improvised music, film directing, and radio broadcasting, and seeks ways to connect these interests into a wide vision. One of the highs of the year." - Richard Elliot on Boy From Black Mountain, PopMatters Best of 2009
"Brian Carpenter's music exudes the sort of dignified darkness you would expect given the company he keeps...seems bound to become a big name." - Chris DeVille, Stereogum
"By carefully orchestrating the styles of small-town Americana, Carpenter wove together a breathtaking journey into the psyche of a nation as it was beginning to craft an urban landscape of entertainment and desire" - Piero Scaruffi on Dreamland, Scaruffi Best of 2008