Pitchblende (band)

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Pitchblende
Origin Washington, DC
Years active 1991 - 1995
Labels Cargo
Jade Tree
Matador Records
Simple Machines
Associated acts Turing Machine
Members Justin Chearno (guitar)
Treiops Treyfid (guitar)
Scott DeSimon (bass)
Patrick Gough (drums)

Pitchblende was a four-piece art-punk band from Washington, DC, featuring Justin Chearno on guitar, Scott DeSimon on bass, Patrick Gough on drums, and Treiops Treyfid on guitar. Between 1991 and 1995, the group recorded three full-length albums and several singles for independent labels Cargo, Jade Tree, Matador Records, and Simple Machines.

Style[edit]

Although based in Washington, DC, Pitchblende's dense, angular sound was commonly thought to be closer in style to contemporary music scenes in New York and Chicago than what one would hear on DC-based post-punk labels at the time. Central to Pitchblende's approach was an emphasis on experimentation and dynamics; the band's songs often featured complex structures, unusual arrangements, alternate tunings, and jarring time changes.

Pitchblende's recordings and loud, energetic live shows earned them critical accolades and comparisons with influential bands such as Mission of Burma and Sonic Youth. The group melded together the chaotic spirit of punk with an absurdist, dada aesthetic; somewhat pop sensibilities; and a musical proficiency informed by prog-rock bands. In spite of occasional references to being inspired by jazz, very little of Pitchblende's music was improvisational. This misconception prompted the band to cheekily rename itself The Pitchblende Quartet for its final 1995 album Gygax!

Breakup[edit]

Despite extensive touring and prolific recorded output, Pitchblende remained largely a favorite of critics and college radio. After a disastrous final US tour in 1994 when the band's gear was stolen in San Francisco and DeSimon was jumped and beaten up in New Mexico, Chearno and DeSimon moved to Brooklyn where they formed the three piece instrumental band Turing Machine. Chearno also went on to form the bands Doldrums and Panthers. These days, Chearno works in the wine industry in New York between recording and touring. DeSimon is a magazine editor. Gough is an urban planner in Toronto who played in the D.C.-based trio Imperial China from 2007 to 2013, and Treyfid is a Los Angeles-based fine artist, solo musician, and graphic designer.

Discography[edit]

  • Sum/Lacquer Box 7", Landspeed - LS001, February 1992
  • The Weed Slam EP 7" - "Weed Slam"/"Ask Rexella"/"Ursa Minor", Jade Tree - JT1008, October 1992
  • Kill Atom Smasher CD/LP, Cargo - Fist12, April 1993
  • Penny for the Guy Working Holiday Split 7" (with Swirlies), Simple Machines - WH11, November 1993
  • "Psychic Power Control"/"In the Flat Field" 7", Cargo - Fist15, May 1994
  • Au Jus CD/CS, Cargo - Fist22, June 1994
  • Au Jus CD/LP, Matador (Europe) - Ole 102, April 1995
  • "Nine-Volt"/"Karoshi" 7" (alternate versions), Pushead Fan Club limited/signed run of 400, September 1994
  • Windshield Kiss split 7" (with Eggs), Jade Tree - JT-16, November 1995
  • Gygax! CD, Cargo - HED-048, February 1996
  • Gygax! CD/LP, Matador (Europe) - Ole 190, April 1996

Compilations[edit]

  • Drop In the Big Drink Split 7" (with Rocket from the Crypt, Rodan, and Walleye), Compulsive - COMP12, October 1993
  • Chairman of the Board - Frank Sinatra Tribute, Double CD, "Here's to the Losers", Grass/Dutch East - GROW1212-2, Spring 1995
  • Working Holiday! Double CD, "Penny for the Guy" 7" version and a live recording of "Flax" at the Working Holiday Festival, January 1994, Simple Machines - SMR 26, December 1994
  • WGNS Gots No Station Compilation, "Sideling Hill" (alternate version), 1994
  • Jade Tree First Five Years, "Windshield Kiss" 7", 2000

External links[edit]