Brume is one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s semi-secret treasures, an eclectic heavy rock trio that’s become a cornerstone of the local metal scene since their inception in 2014. Their last doomy full length, Rooster, was released in 2017 to some acclaim. In the interim they’ve released a 2 song split and contributed a Black Sabbath cover to an upcoming compilation. Their latest album, Rabbits, released in November 2019 on Magnetic Eye Records, is nothing less than a bold leap beyond their previous work.
Led by enigmatic singer and bassist Susie McMullan and backed by guitarist Jaime McCathie and drummer Jordan Perkins-Lewis, Brume seems poised to break out and receive the recognition they deserve as one of the best heavy bands to come out of the Bay Area.
The emotional and sonic rollercoaster of Rabbits goes from wistful solitary guitar lines to hair raising crashes of thunder; from heart-wrenching cello passages to soaring vocals that are at turns angry and ethereal. To call this doom metal is limiting. To call it psych rock doesn’t do it justice. This is simply a fully realized emotional and sonic landscape that you experience as much as listen to.
I highly encourage you to put this album on, lie back, and let it wash over you.
I’m not even sure how I stumbled across this but bless Bandcamp for helping me find the most amazing music from around the world every day. This album from Berlin rockers Scream of the Butterfly sounds like a cross between QUOTSA and Stone Temple Pilots, with a dash of Deep Purple sprinkled in for fun.
Modern rock and roll with a 90s groove and little melodic pop edge a winning combination in IGNITION. Standout tracks: Solid Ground Shaking, Missed the Brake, Liquor Store.
It seemed like a good idea. Why not add a challenge on top of a challenge, I thought?
I know we all have a set of go-to plugins, while the rest sit in a virtual junk drawer of tools that have either been abandoned or never got used in the first place. So I thought hey, why not switch it up and just use some of those for a change?
And just like that, my practice mix became a challenge to use only plugins that I own but have never used before. How hard could it be, I thought? I’ve been doing this for a decade.
This mix was originally just going to be a test of a new version of my mix template, which I update a couple times a year. This version has some new bus routing based on the way Michael Brauer does some of his bussing, at least according to the workflow in a recent Tape Op article. Mixing with this routing would have been challenging enough, as it turns out.
What I quickly figured out was that not only was my workflow hamstringed by taking out my go-to plugins, but having to either figure out what each plugin did and how it sounded was going to make this mix take at least three times as long as usual.
So I stepped back and thought, how can I make this process as workflow-y as possible, while knowing virtually nothing about these plugins?
The answer may be instructive, so stick with me.
I took a step back and thought, ok, what are the types of plugins that I use in every mix? And came up with a short list:
• EQ for correction and color
• Track compression and bus compression
• A trim plugin
• Reverb and delay for flavor
That’s pretty much it. And not even all of those are necessary, but they’re part of my typical mix workflow.
The next job was to find unused plugins that fit each of these categories. Some of them I literally had to try out to see what they were because I couldn’t even remember downloading them, let alone what they did. As in, were they a bus compressor or a transient shaper? A synth or a drum enhancer? There were definitely some surprises, both pleasant and not.
(Hint to plugin makers – it doesn’t hurt to say what the plugin does in the name!)
Once I cleared my template of my regular plugins and replaced them with the mystery ones, it just became a matter of figuring out which ones did the job and which I could just disable or delete.
The mix eventually came out sounding the way it would have with my regular plugins and workflow, but now I have a new set of cool tools in my mixing toolbelt and a few less losers taking up space in the pulldown lists.
The bottom line: we get caught up in gear acquisition (ooh shiny!) and tend to acquire tools faster than we learn how to use them. It doesn’t hurt to clean house once in a while. And when you do get new toys, take the time to learn how to use them!