ADVENTURES ON EARTH
01. Now You Are
02. Designed to Survive
05. The Purple Path
06. In The Movies
07. Focus Out
08. Sunrise Suprise
09. Apocalypse Now?
10. Great White Right
11. Hollow Pills
12. Alone at Last
Suggested Tracks: 2, 3, 6
IN THE MOVIES REMIX EP
01. In The Movies - Lonely Alien Mix
02. Photographs - Superball Mix
03. Now You Are - Mosquito Zapper Mix
04. Space Oddity - 2010 Mix
05. O Holy Night - Minnesota Winter Mix
A cohesive marriage of soaring melodies, transient textures and poignant lyrical ideas, Glorious Monster's debut album 'Adventures on Earth' embraces a colorful palette of musical ideas in its presentation of both the miraculous and the disturbing aspects of the modern world. An intricate combination of guitars, keyboards, and studio wizardry compliment the soft falsetto of vocalist Brian Casey. Beautiful, haunting, and powerful, Monster's debut is as diverse as it is cohesive, flowing seamlessly from beginning to end as a genuine album.
A two man team in the studio, Glorious Monster is Danny Burke (electronic musician / pianist) and Brian Casey (vocalist / guitarist), who met while studying music at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the spring of 2005 they formed their music production company, Skeptic Music, and started making a name for themselves as the production team, The Skeptics. They have written and produced music used in national TV ads for brands such as BMW and Coke, the movie trailers for Rescue Dawn and The Curse of the Golden Flower, and the theme to MTV's Parental Control. They have also worked on scores for several short and feature length films. Recently, Glorious Monster's music has been featured on episodes of MTV's The Hills and Real World.
Adventures on Earth
Producer: Danny Burke/Brian Casey
Style: Melancholic Pop
Reviewed by: Kaj Roth
Glorious Monster is a two man team with Danny Burke handling the keyboards and programming plus Brian Casey on vocals and guitars.
They have produced and written music for movie trailers for Resque Dawn and The Curse of the Golden Flower and the theme to MTV's Parental Control.
Recently, Glorious Monster's music has been featured on episodes of MTV's "The hills" and "Real world".
Their debut "Adventures on earth" is a dreamlike pop affair with elements of electronica and I love how the music is filled with mystique which is really creative for the mind to wander away in an imaginery fantasy.
A new remix EP called "In the movies" will be out late 2007 but if we focus on this album, I would like to describe their sound as Sigur Ros meeting Radiohead with traces of Mew here and there.
Casey's falsetto vocals is brilliant and I can listen to any of the songs "Now you are", "Designed to survive", "Angela" and "In the movies" over and over again.
For fans of: Umbrellas, Stars of track and field, Mew, Eskju Divine
Glorious Monster are an electronic, guitar and vocals combo from Minnesota. As the title suggests, their new EP is a compilation of alternative mixes and covers from their only album to date, ‘Adventures On Earth’. Not having the album, I can’t really compare versions but what I can say is that - on the strength of the five songs collected here - the duo show eclectic taste and a real sense of invention.
If there is a consistent approach, it’s that each song is characterised by Brian Casey’s airy vocals; not dissimilar to Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan. ‘Photographs’ is the key track for me, where a serene synth wash is joined by melodic bleeps and Casey’s intimate performance. It’s a lovely, romantic-sounding song. The title track is optimistic and breezy whilst ‘Now You Are’ merges melancholia with futuristic keyboard swirls.
The choices of cover versions are certainly brave affairs even if they don’t quite come off. Casey certainly struggles to wrestle his vocals around ‘Space Oddity’ and you have to question the wisdom of covering such a near-perfect song. ‘O Holy Night’, on the other hand, is another odd choice but this time Glorious Monster pull it off with a heartfelt delivery. In fact, I think it’s the emotion of the EP which is one of its strongest qualities and it certainly encourages me to investigate the accompanying album.
Adventures on Earth
Glorious Monster’s itchy and propulsive rhythms steer Adventures on Earth clear of a ponderous morass. But that’s where their moody, electro-pop debut appeared to be heading, mostly because of Brian Casey’s languid lyricism. Casey is a young songwriter who gets in over his head tackling the ills of capitalism (“Designed to Survive”), unstable love (“In the Movies”), and existential uncertainty (every song) all at once. And when he drops an overwrought clunker like “Am I a brain / Or is my brain me / Consciousness or biology?”, the need for energy and movement is most pronounced. That’s what the rhythms here supply. They break the overcast tedium. On the opener “Now You Are”, shifty and crisply off-beat percussion keeps Casey’s falsetto afloat and leads the song in its buildup. The ghostly “Sunrise Surprise” rumbles forward, but is still too murky until the chorus’ punchy handclap effects kick in and puncture the haze. Adventures on Earth often follows this pattern—medium-boil sonics that gradually take on a layered form. The lyrical self-seriousness doesn’t help the transition but, to their benefit, Glorious Monster’s emphasis lies elsewhere. -Barry Lenser
December 6, 2007
Glorious Monster @ Nomad World Pub, 9 pm, $5
Under the name The Skeptics, Brian Casey and Danny Burke have built an enviable career in commercial music, scoring the trailers for Rescue Dawn and The Curse of the Golden Flower as well as commercials for BMW and Coke. But they also record more personal material as Glorious Monster, including the lush, Radiohead-esque Adventures on Earth, released earlier this year. The duo plays the Nomad this week behind In The Movies, a new five-song EP of remixes of material from Adventures plus an appropriately ethereal cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and the holiday song “O Holy Night.” Opening: NOBOT, Estate.
They write for ads—but they've also given life to a Glorious Monster
The Heart of the Skeptics
Do the men of Glorious Monster owe their success to a mysterious Max Headroom-like shadow figure?
Adventures on Earth
There are few dorm rooms, I would imagine, in which rock-star success was never planned, never sketched out—and few college roommates who haven't been alienated by the musical ambitions of the talentless jerk on the bunk below. But these universal dreams are almost universally abandoned—and who can say what went wrong? Certainly, the first guess would not be, "You didn't send your demo to commercial composition agencies."
But that's probably because you haven't talked to professional production duo the Skeptics, who met as students at the University of St. Thomas. They aren't that far from their dorm-room days—although now they share a calm, orderly recording studio in downtown Minneapolis, where they make a decent living producing scores for TV commercials and movie trailers. After a few years of writing for pay, they're ready to release their first post-graduate creative work, under the band name Glorious Monster.
"Not a lot of people know we exist," admits blond-haired Brian Casey. "I think sometimes people think I'm lying when I say, 'I write music.'"
Danny Burke, the dark-haired half of the group, nods in agreement. When he tells people he's a producer, they react as if he'd said he was aspiring to be a producer: "You gotta meet my friend's boyfriend's cousin, he produces some awesome stuff," they might say, helpfully.
"We stumbled into a niche that's a way to make a living as a musician—even my teachers in school didn't know how to break into it," Casey says. They began like everyone else, pulling fruitless stunts. Burke recalls a trip the boys took to visit Casey's brother in Los Angeles.
"We were like, 'We're gonna meet music executives,'" he says, imitating their wide-eyed naiveté as Casey cracks up laughing.
"We actually slipped a CD under the door at Capitol Records, like, 'This is gonna blow their minds!'" If minds were blown, the fatalities must not have been properly credited, for the team found their break back home in Minnesota, when local agency In the Groove Music used their work in a Coca-Cola commercial.
Four years later, the two have their own studio space, where they collaborate on TV and movie scores. "We have stuff in the trailers for The Curse of the Golden Flower, Rescue Dawn, Breakfast on Pluto," Burke says.
Casey interjects, "We wrote the theme for Parental Control on MTV. It was only 12 seconds long—but for a few years, it was on all the time."
Yet when they have a chance to compose for themselves, they use their music to explore ideas, rather than sell them. The duo have created a mascot for the Glorious Monster concept—he's a little scruffy-faced, lost-looking cartoon critter who wanders the earth as if exploring an uncertain and perilous place, where the easy fun of MTV is hard to come by. The music is a perfect soundtrack to the creature's lonely ramblings—it's dreamy, yearning, and atmospheric. The vocals are story-hour quiet and breathy, blended together like notes in a chord. Synthesized tones echo in space, occasionally refracting a bit of light before they dissolve.
But how do you measure success? For the kid swinging a guitar around at an all-ages show, the question might be as simple as, "Will other kids want to touch me now?" For the twentysomething whose band draws crowds to the Triple Rock, street cred compensates for scant wages. But eventually, "making it" refers to a mortgage payment—and it's the rare musician who doesn't eventually abandon the stage for the day-job lifestyle. Glorious Monster are in an unusual position; they don't just have talent, they have earnings. Yet they lack a group of fans with an emotional connection to their art. And so they must send their debut out into the world feeling the same mix of hope and uncertainty as the next-to-last band playing the Entry on a quiet Tuesday night. - Sarah Askari
Show of note: Glorious Monster has quickly followed up its debut, "Adventures on Earth" - one of my favorites of the year - with the new five-song "In the Movies Remix EP." In addition to new takes on three album cuts, the band offers a perfectly gorgeous take on "O Holy Night" (ideal even for folks who hate Christmas music) and a throwaway trawl through David Bowie's "Space Oddity" (which, to be honest, sounds limp next to the duo's originals). They play the Nomad on Saturday. - Ross Raihala
Scene Showcase: Glorious Monster
Friday, December 7, 2007 at 09:33 AM
In a local music scene that saw many compelling debut albums in 2007, Glorious Monster's Adventures On Earth should be included in any discussion regarding the cream of the abundant crop (for more on that click here ). Not content to merely leave audiences with one epic listening experience this year, however, the duo of Brian Casey and Danny Burke are returning to close out the year with a remix EP for their awesome single "In the Movies" that also boasts some fun covers (David Bowie's "Space Oddity," the classic Xmsa tune "O Holy Night"). So if you're looking for some icey space-pop to complement the ice on your windshield as temps go below zero this weekend then head on out to the Nomad Saturday night for what is sure to be a boundary-pushing live music experience. -Rob van Alstyne
Glorious Monster (EP-Release)
Sat., December 8, 9:00pm
Nomad World Pub
501 Cedar Ave. S
Quietly epic would be an appropriate description for Glorious Monster. Their sound features guitar, piano, mildly depressed vocals, and a bit of in-studio sparkle to give it a slightly computerized feel. Their mellow, ambient sound might seem familiar: Snippets and original scores penned by the group have been featured in commercials for BMW and Coke, the movie trailer for Rescue Dawn, and on MTV shows such as The Real World and The Hills. The band's two members, Brian Casey and Danny Burke, met while studying music at the University of St. Thomas. This Saturday features the release of their new remix EP, In the Movies. Though they cover the seasonal "O Holy Night" and the Bowie standard "Space Oddity," those tracks are best left forgotten in favor of their original work, which is worthy of play on any stereo during a low-key drive through the city. 21+. — Jessica Armbruster
Adventures On Earth
(CD, Skeptic, Progressive pop)
Smooth and well-produced articulate dreamy pop. This is the debut album from Glorious Monster, the duo consisting of Danny Burke and Brian Casey. Prior to releasing this album, Burke and Casey were (and still are) in the business of producing commercial music for television. As such, our guess is that these fellows were probably really ready to create music without any constraints. Adventures On Earth presents twelve progressive pop tunes that seamlessly combine accessibility with artistic creativity. Although hummable and memorable, these songs are presented in a manner that is not consistent with modern-day commercial pop (i.e., the arrangements are too creative for the casual listener and there aren't enough catchy choruses to meet the average dope's needs). What probably impresses us most about this album is its staying power. After playing it several times the tunes only get better...revealing the subtle layers of substance beneath the surface. Kickass tracks include "Now You Are," "Angela," "Sunrise Surprise," and "Alone At Last." (Rating: 5+)
Eight for 'O8
The sound: Pink Floyd-inspired epics that supply plenty of funky headphone listening pleasures.
Why this could be the year: Because there needs to be a new band to inspire laser-show hysteria. —Rob Van Alstyne
Glorious Monster play their EP release show on Saturday, December 8 at the Nomad World Pub with NOBOT, Estate. 9 p.m. $5. 21+.
In a local music scene that saw many compelling debut albums in 2007, Glorious Monster’s Adventures On Earth should be included in any discussion regarding the cream of the abundant crop (for more on that click here ). Not content to merely leave audiences with one epic listening experience this year, however, the duo of Brian Casey and Danny Burke are returning to close out the year with a remix EP for their awesome single “In the Movies” that also boasts some fun covers (David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” the classic Xmsa tune “O Holy Night”). So if you’re looking for some icey space-pop to complement the ice on your windshield as temps go below zero this weekend then head on out to the Nomad Saturday night for what is sure to be a boundary-pushing live music experience. - Rob van Alstyne
Adventures On Earth
Inky: Cool, artsy pop-rock, really well produced. A little bit of Genesis at times, epic songs.
Pinky: New Genre!: Mathgaze. The Space Invaders' sounds make me laugh… otherwise lonely.
Blinky: Too gentle to be monstrous. If everything hiding in my closet was this, I would feed it prom dresses.
Sue: Depeche Mode.
Adventures On Earth
When The Postal Service released their debut album, the lines between emo/indie rock and goth electronica were already faintly blurred, but in the ensuing years, it has faded into near obscurity with the number of acts following in the footsteps of Messrs. Gibbard and Tamborello. The duo known as Glorious Monster are doing their part to further erase those boundaries with the release of this CD, and are shaking out their journals and vague political anger all over the 12 tracks within. The songs pan out fairly well, sounding just earnest enough to avoid appearing completely pretentious, but all too often sound like they are in love with the sound of their own voices and mediocre techno pop. There's a market for albums like this amongst skinny young women with questionable haircuts and morals, but its appeal quickly diminishes in direct proportion with age, gender and waist size. It just sounds like youthful self-indulgence to fat old men like me. --Bob Ham
Glorious Monster Offshoot To Appear In "The Real World: Hollywood" (Also: Perez Hilton Digs The 1900s?)
Minneapolis and Hollywood are opposites in many ways, not the least of which includes climate--MPLS, after all, has something called "Cold Weather". But the two cities are about to have at least one thing in common: the music of Glorious Monster, the electro-pop duo from the land of 10000 lakes. The conduit for such a connection? Why, it's "The Real World". Yes, the television show that started out as an earnest, if convoluted, look into the lives of twenty-somethings that has gentrified to an even more convoluted orgy of twenty-something drinking-and-screwing themselves into an orgy of stupid. How is this possible? I'll let Brian from GM do the explaining.