We're announcing a monthly content blitz in the lead up to our 20th anniversary in December 2022 called the Cannonade of Content! Here's the press release we're sending to media with more details:
AUSTIN, TX - This year, Austin’s Invincible Czars—an ensemble known for their silent film soundtracks, elaborate compositions, ebullient performances, and eclectic takes on classical fare such as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite—will celebrate 20 years of rule. To celebrate this milestone, they’re announcing a thank you to their fans across the world with their “Cannonade of Content” in which they will release music on streaming services (Spotify, Bandcamp, etc.) each month in the lead up to the official anniversary in December. The year-long content blitz will include new material, unreleased music and a few out-of-print / hard to find releases with bonus tracks.
The band’s colorful career to date has included club tours, movie theaters, colleges, holiday festivals, etc. Highlights include opening the 25th anniversary of classical music festival OKMOZART! with their rockin’ version of 1812 Overture complete with fireworks, sell-outs at Seattle International Film Festival in 2016 and 2017, performing alongside many of their weird rock heroes like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Melt Banana and NoMeansNo in Texas clubs in the 00s. They spent the 2010s performing their own precise and tastefully modern soundtracks to silent films on a touring circuit of their own creation. By 2016, they were selling out cinemas and performing arts spaces all over the US and Canada two months a year—often with two movies on tap and usually one in the works. The Alamo Drafthouse called them one of the best in the US—a sentiment echoed by art house cinemas nationwide.
Always ambitious, the band recorded more than they could release in that busy decade and the monthly cadence of releases will include some “new” material from that time. In fact, when pandemic forced the current line-up to move all efforts online, they found hours of forgotten, unreleased material: Five silent film soundtracks, a full-album tribute to Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast started in 2010, demos from their rock club days, an incomplete album of animal-inspired instrumentals, cover songs, a second EP of music by local composers Graham Reynolds and Peter Stopschinski, re-imagined classical works by Erik Satie, Claude Debussy and Modest Mussorgsky. All of these are on the list of potential releases this year.
On JANUARY 24 they fire the first round of the barrage with a bass-heavy rendering of The Dandy Warhols’ 2000 hit “Bohemian Like You” request from a Patreon supporter. They toyed with many arrangement ideas (including an obvious reference to The Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar”) but ultimately settled on a treatment inspired by Austin dance rockers Pong.
The band hopes all the new content will bring balance to their Spotify profile, where they are stuck in an algorithmic holiday un-wonderland. Their 2007 Nutcracker Suite was their only release on streaming platforms for many years, skewing their exposure to fans of what band leader Josh Robins calls “the cheesiest of Christmas music.”
Death and Rebirth
The Cannonade of Content is as much about closure as fun for Robins and co. “The last few years have felt like one grief cycle after another,” he says. The loss of keyboardist Bill Petersen to a heart attack in 2014 followed by his dramatic divorce from a fellow Czar made several works-in-progress feel “too painful to finish." Much of that abandoned material will now be available for the first time.
But, he adds, these challenges and others over the years have given him and Phil Davidson (Czars violinist since 2005) an opportunity to live up to the band’s name. Over the last five years, familiar faces Henry Vines (bass), Chuck Fischer (percussion, keyboards, vocals) and Eoghan McCloskey (drums) have returned to the fold along with newcomers Skunk Manhattan (piano, guitar, vocals), Katie O’Neil (flute, vocals).
The monthly blitzkrieg continues in February with a follow-up bonus to their 2021 Van Halen tribute EP Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love: a prog-rock version of the Sammy Hagar-era hit “Right Now”.