Pitchblende

SPEED KILLS #5, Volume 3  1993 (cover), SCOTT RUTHERFORD, Editor

  • <sigh>
  • Okay. There’s the music + faux hot rod/kustum kulture lifestyle zines of the early 90’s we’ve heretofore ignored, for good reason. While there was some occasional decent overlap with subunderground music channels, we here at Fuckin’ Record Reviews really couldn’t take all that hot rod action seriously, so anything with hot rods (other than Kicks) was traded for back issues of The Economist. Seems we kept Speed Kills around though, cuz the music action was generally okay.
  • We’ve no doubt there’s an anonymous editor at Fuckin’ Hot Rod Reviews saying the exact same thing about the hot rod + faux music zines of the 90’s. 
  • Have a nice day.

donation courtesy Egon Schiele III

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Along with “Magic Fingers” by the Mothers of Invention, this might be the most-perpetually-in-my-head tune of the last decade. Don’t know why I only just now decided to excise it via YouTube, but great video nonetheless. Pitchblende - “Flax” from Kill Atom Smasher.

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Former Pitchblende types Justin and Simon formed Turing Machine in the late 90s, and made a load of sheet-metal krautrock noise. This is from A New Machine For Living, which came out in 2000 (bizarre Turing Machine fact - the drummer died in a lift shaft accident, apparently). 

Food for thought in Ryan Schreiber’s Pitchfork review, though, when he says of instrumental guitar music ‘we’re in a new decade now, and just as disco withered at the end of the 70s, the time has come to lay pretentious instrumental indie rock to rest… it didn’t take long to mine and hollow this limited genre. Any original sound that could be drawn out of guitars, bass and drums has long since been extracted.’ Obviously, from my perspective I’d disagree with much of what he says - for me, a lack of vocalist simply means there should be more room to experiment with different avenues of the sound, but it’s certainly true that the vast majority of instrumental bands limit themselves to mining the same small pool of influences, i.e. Mogwai, Godspeed! and if you’re lucky maybe some Don Cab in there too. It’s harder to produce something new and original within the confines of instrumental guitar music than it ever was, but it’s unfair to say the genre is completely played out. There’s life in it yet. 

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PItchblende: Shepherdess (1993)

These guys were one of the few contemporary local bands I knew and liked while in high school. I was always more of a watch-movies-over-at-a-friend’s-house kind of kid than a go-out-to-shows one, so my exposure to local, independent music was pretty minimal. It’s too bad, really, because there was a lot of interesting stuff going on in the D.C. area at that time. I did like a couple of Teen Beat bands, but I wish I had paid more attention to that whole scene as well as Simple Machines

Grass Is Green- "Vacation Vinny" Exploding In Sound 2014

I was fortunate enough to catch A Minor Forest in Boston last spring and just like you would imagine, it was like a hands-free orgasm.  This review isn’t about them or how unfucking real it was to catch one of your favorite bands of all time that you were pretty sure you would never see, but I digress…this review was about their opening act, Grass Is Green; you’re thinking it and I’m going to say it, but yeah that band name sucks.  But, one thing I have learned over the years is to never trust a book by it’s cover and ALWAYS check out opening bands; they started playing minutes after we walked in and they had my full attention.  Not only was everything that they were playing completely awesome, but they brought me back to a time period where bands like A Minor Forest, Polvo, Archers of Loaf, Built to Spill, Pitchblende, Truman’s Water, Drip Tank, Drive Like Jehu, Erectus Monotone, P.E.E., A Minor Forest, the Swirlies, Shudder to Think, Jawbox, Superchunk, Helium, Heavy Vegetable, etc. were doing weirder shit to indie rock than priests were doing to alter boys. (I also want to mention a couple other moderns that are on the same page as Grass As Green- Grooms, Q and not U, Helms, the Panoply Academy Glee Club, etc.).  Aside from their misleading band name, these guys were shredding on stage, warping in and out of plentiful tempo and tonal shifts.  Guitars were bending like cooked spaghetti and exploding into sonic freakouts, then worming their way back into hummable and infectious melodies.  It has been a long time since I have seen a band try to emulate these sounds, and Grass Is Green cleverly wove many key influences and elements of this genre into their own.  You can pick out certain likable influences here and there, but these guys have created their own distinct fingerprint.

I had no choice but to buy the record after that performance, and the record definitely transcribes brilliantly to what they do live.  For some reason I don’t see their name out there much and have never seen it in Providence, but I highly recommend this band.  If you dudes read this, sorry about saying your name sucks; I hope it wasn’t like a dying parents last wish or something…and it’s not the worst name—I just feel like it doesn’t represent what you’re doing and can get overlooked.  Other than that, I will continue to recommend you, and if you want to play Providence, let me know! 

(5 out of 6 Doves) Prince’s Minnetonka Tea Time was interrupted when he overheard this record and thought for a split second that it may almost be as good as one of his own.  After splashing his cup of tea into his ankle masseuse’s face, he went downstairs into his studio and wrote the best mind-melting neo-funk-jazz-fusion box set known to man.

Similar Albums:

Polvo- “This Eclipse” Merge

Pitcheblende- “Au Jus” Postfact Archiv

Grooms- “Infinity Caller” Western Vinyl

Drip Tank- “Sprawl” Cargo

Archers of Loaf- “The Speed of Cattle” Alias

For Sale Pitchblende November UK 7" vinyl PITCHBLENDE / SWIRLIES November (1993 US 2-track 7"
vinyl single released as part of the monthly ‘Working Holiday’
series by Simple Machines Records, including a track by each
band, housed in a clear polythene sleeve with the
double-sided wrap-around picture insert and a fold-out label
catalogue sheet SMWH11) http://eil.com/shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=624703&utm_source=tumblr-eil&utm_medium=tumblr-eil&utm_campaign=tumblr-eil eil.com is the worlds largest buyer and seller of rare vinyl records, CDs & music memorabila

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the new decadence - pitchblende

Greg and Darin celebrate the 150th episode of Snacky Tunes today! Tune into this episode to hear from Scott DeSimon and Justin Chearno of Pitchblende and Turing Machine. Hear the two talk about independent rock in the 1990s, touring, and eating on the road. Find out how Pitchblende used to book their tours, and how they were able to tour while having jobs in New York City with Turing Machine. Learn what NYC neighborhoods had the cheapest eats in the mid-90s, and how Williamsburg has evolved since that time. Hear rise of dance rock in the early aughts, and how music collecting has changed in the Internet era. Find out how both Scott and Justin eventually got jobs in the New York City food world! This episode has been brought to you by Tekserve.

Listen to the show here:

“In the early 90s, the independent scene wasn’t very commercial. If we wanted to go on tour in October, I’d start calling people in August.” [10:10]

“The idea of eating at a restaurant in the 90s with two numbers in the price was out.” [37:00]

 Justin Chearno on Snacky Tunes

“It was the indie rock time. That was right around the time that everybody figured out that you could put out your own music.” [8:00]

 Scott DeSimon on Snacky Tunes