These Wicked Things [vinyl]

These Wicked Things [vinyl]

Weird American Gothic 3.0
Brian Carpenter
Andrew Stern
Paul Dilley
Gavin McCarthy
Beat Circus
Catalog Number: 
new music

Boston, MA

Release Date: 
Mar 22, 2019
Liner Notes: 
One Sheet: 

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 “spaghetti western” and giallo film scores. 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.

These Wicked Things began after Carpenter was commissioned by the Berkeley Repertory Theater in Berkeley, California 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, a Mexican who went on a 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.

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 (Ward Hayden & The Outliers), 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 Coastin San Francisco.

These Wicked Things is the band’s first release in ten years, following Boy From Black Mountain (Cuneiform Records, 2009), Dreamland (Cuneiform, 2008), and Ringleaders Revolt (innova, 2004). During this period, Carpenter released four critically-acclaimed albums with Ghost Train Orchestra in Brooklyn, NY, and a debut album with Brian Carpenter & The Confessions.

Album release tour:

Fri 03/22 The Apohadion Theater, PORTLAND ME 
w/Greg Jamison, Viking Moses
Sat 3/23 Once Ballroom, SOMERVILLE MA 
w/Count Zero, Jaggery, Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band, Kee Avil
Fri 3/29 Kung Fu Necktie, PHILADELPHIA PA
w/The Rectors, Gringo Motel
Sat 3/30 Wind Up Space, BALTIMORE MD
w/Quattracenta, HOLY FINGERS, Kamyar Arsani
Sun 3/31 Brillobox, PITTSBURGH PA
w/Emily Rodgers Band, Poor Richard
Mon 4/1 The Summit, COLUMBUS OH
w/Suffering, Praying Hands
Tue 4/2 Blockhouse Bar, BLOOMINGTON IN
Wed 4/3 Empty Bottle, CHICAGO IL
w/The Claudettes, The Lonesome Organist
Thu 4/4 The Happy Dog, CLEVELAND OH
w/Arms & Armour, The Village Bicycle
Fri 4/5 Outer Limits, DETROIT MI
w/Duende, The Gaslights, The Whiskey Charmers
Sat 4/6 The Baby G, TORONTO ON
w/Friendly Rich, Clara Engel, Kee Avil
Sun 4/7 L'Escogriffe Bar Spectacle, MONTREAL
w/Brakhage, Kee Avil
Thu 4/11 The Parlour, PROVIDENCE RI
w/Alec K. Redfearn
Thu 4/25 National Sawdust, BROOKLYN NY
w/Tredici Bacci


“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 is like a road map of the U.S. The multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter has cited places like Coney Island and the Florida Panhandle as inspiration for his concept albums Dreamlandand Boy From Black Mountain.” – Fresh Air with Terry Gross, NPR

“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


"The brainchild of visionary composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Brian Carpenter, Beat Circus is a bona fide Boston music institution, Since forming in 2002, the group has evolved from an all-star improv outfit, boasting players like Brandon Seabrook, Jim Hobbs, and Jerome Deupree, into something less easily pigeonholed: one part edgy, eclectic art ensemble, one part twangy, moody roots-rock outfit, combined in an instantly appealing mix." [FULL ARTICLE]


"An art mash up of epic proportions..., this isn't malcontents acting out, this is the fruits of high brow minds surfing the back alleys. The wildest sonic ride you could take this side of a Zappa nightmare, it's on point and it's real with nary a false note in the festivities" [FULL ARTICLE] - Chris Spector


"‘These Wicked Things‘ is an excellent album, buzzing with ideas and unrelentingly following its dark muse. For all the changes of musical style it is undoubtedly the purest Americana" [FULL ARTICLE] - Jonathan Aird


"These Wicked Things is a masterpiece of atmosphere, evoking dark, strange corners of the American experience." [FULL ARTICLE] - Mark Sullivan


"Carpenter uses a varied palette of sounds and traditions. To me, some of them resonate with artists as different as the Velvet Underground, John Zorn, The Doors, Merle Haggard, Pink Martini, and The Residents. Whatever your personal references, the album is a most unusual concoction of dry-ice Americana, spaghetti westerns, creepy spoken-word prose poems, and side trips to the avant-garde. The CD version is particularly worth having for the stark black-and-white artwork by Danijel Zezelj, showing lovers, smoking ruins, gaunt horsemen, a hitchhiker, a murder, and a shabby motel...Brightly inventive in the service of a dim mood, the songs smell of existential desperation. “Is anybody out there? I’m waiting for you to appear,” asks the narrator of “The Last Man,” the epic, penultimate song. Its lyrics, unlike the rest, are missing from the booklet – an oversight? Or a bullet-hole through the heart? Either way, this is one of the cooler albums to cross my transom this year." [FULL ARTICLE] - Jon Sobel


"Beat Circus rebounds with ‘Wicked’ release" [FULL ARTICLE] - Jed Gottlieb


"Impressively put together as a holistic work, with lots of production-based ear candy to be enjoyed" [FULL ARTICLE] - Andrew Marrocco


I haven’t had a chance to hear the first two installments in Carpenter’s trilogy, but These Wicked Things will force me to check them out. [FULL ARTICLE] - Ljubinko Zivkovic 


"Long sepia shadows and a dash of Link Wray." [FULL ARTICLE] - George Harris