Dartmouth Student Brandon Abiuso’s “A Day is the Worst Segmentation of Time” debut album explores religion and identity through alternative rock
Abiuso’s new album “A Day is the Worst Segmentation of Time” offers a deep-dive into a variety of themes, including religion, death and nostalgia.
On April 14, Brandon Abiuso ’23 released his debut alternative rock album “A Day is the Worst Segmentation of Time” under his alias “Summer on Venus” on all music streaming platforms. “Summer on Venus” is also the name of a student band he sings and plays bass for on campus.
Although Abiuso wrote and composed all of the songs on his album in the last year, he received funding to use a professional recording and mixing engineer, allowing his vision to come alive. After taking a first year seminar with music professor Theodore Levin, Abiuso inquired about funding for independent projects during his off term in winter 2022. He received a grant from the Music Department and connected with a mixing engineer in his hometown of Philadelphia to record his songs. Abiuso sang and played almost every part by himself on “A Day is the Worst Segmentation of Time” and enlisted the help of high school bandmates to play the drums.
“A lot of [these bandmates] had never heard [the album] before that morning, and the recording still turned out phenomenal,” Abiuso said.
Despite many songs being meaningful, Abiuso said he felt especially connected to the track “Summer on Venus” — particularly because he decided to lean into a more catchy and popular sound than his typical raw, gritty style. He describes the motif of summer as a means to evoke nostalgia, reflecting on the passing of adolescence into adulthood. Other times, Abiuso muses about darker themes, such as on the track “Death is a Plot Device,” where he confronts existential dread, monotony and death.
Abiuso’s passion for music began early. In his early teens, he learned to play the guitar and drums, and a few years later he played in a grunge band in high school. Although Abiuso did not have a formal education in music, he credits his interest in rock and grunge to his father, who is a fan of Nirvana.
“As far as a single musician that has been one of the biggest influences on me, I would say Kurt Cobain. Nirvana used to be by far my favorite band,” Abiuso said.
He has also drawn inspiration from the dissonant harmonies of Alice in Chains, the raw energy of Slipknot, the ethereal atmospheres of shoegaze groups like Lush and Souvlaki and The Beatles for their songwriting prowess and catchy hooks.
Abiuso explained that his album touches on three main themes: social commentary, religion and his own identity. One song on the track titled, “American Utopian Society” is a satiric title for a political commentary on racism and discrimination in the United States. As Abiuso explained, these themes interplay, such as in the provocative track “A Televangelist Stole My Virginity.” This song was informed by his 17 years at a Catholic school, as well as his response to the George Floyd protests.
Tulio Higgins ’23, Abiuso’s roommate while studying abroad in London, spoke to the thematic depth of Abiuso’s songwriting — the most important aspect of his compositional process.
“Brandon is very, very interested in these deep questions,” Higgins said. “I think he uses music as an outlet to talk about those philosophical questions of religion and identity... He is very intentional with his songwriting.”
The recording and mixing processes were an important learning process for Abiuso, who spent time honing every lyric and rhythm of each song. In post-production, Abiuso revised each song multiple times.
Abiuso later returned to the studio to record another three songs later that summer. Since then, he has been showcasing his originals with the band “Summer on Venus” on campus.
“Summer on Venus” is not the only student band to play original songs. However, it is one of the few that focuses on showcasing its originals — rather than strictly playing crowd-pleasing covers. It also stylistically differs from the predominantly indie-rock or country sound of most other student bands. Their concerts offer a special space for those who enjoy alternative rock, metal, grunge and shoegaze to enjoy live music.
Abiuso is a self-described metalhead, which he admits is somewhat of a rarity on Dartmouth’s campus. Some of the band’s biggest fans echo the same sentiment, like Gabriel Margaca ’23, who expressed a desire for a more sonically-diverse Dartmouth music scene.
“Even the more alternative spaces on campus are somewhat alternative, but none of them are really heavy,” Margaca said.“I think it would be good to have a little bit more of a diverse music scene in terms of the genres, especially since there's not any bars that play that type of music here either.”
Even if “Summer on Venus” does not pull the largest crowds, Margaca spoke highly of the band’s passion and energy.
“One of my favorites is [the song] ‘Water,’ because it's got this really broken down, nasty feeling,” Margaca said. “Brandon is a really good live performer, so he'll just start messing around with the amp and breaking strings.”
“We're gonna be playing a bunch of shows this term, you know. I'm graduating in June, so I want to try and get in as much as I can,” Abiuso said.
Summer on Venus will play at Sigma Nu fraternity this Saturday. “A Day is the Worst Segmentation of Time” is available to stream on all major streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music.