AmRep Revisited – Chokebore

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Official Site

MySpace Page

This eclectic LA (originally Honolulu, Hawaii) band produced numerous LPs since their formation in the early 90s. They were described as “leaders in the emerging sadcore movement of the early 90s” and while their sound was rather atypical for Amphetamine Reptile label, they still fit in nice with the rest of the labelmates as evident by the tour that they did with Guzzard and Today Is The Day.

Motionless - 1993

Chokebore signed to Amphetamine Reptile in 1993 thanks to the demo that they submitted to the label. Subsequently, the label released their debut – 1993 “Motionless”, as well as 1995 “Anything Near Water” and 1996 “A Taste For Bitters”.

XSilence website described “Motionless” as chaotic grunge/punk/metal influenced album and  a good, but not exciting effort that only hinted at what’s to come for the band. CMJ New Music Report commented on “Anything Near Water album in the following way – “rather than lingering on the amount of distortion buzzing through its foot pedals, Chokebore clears out some sonic space for its frontman, Troy Balthazar, who lets out some genuinely tortured yelps all on his own.”

Furthermore, CMJ pointed out that “Each track on Anything Near Water is simmering on Balthazar’s manic-dream impressions or scrawling coarse riffs across a steady rhythmic foundation with equal artfulness. But don’t be fooled by Chokebore’s select aggression or lyrical psyche-probes: “Thin as Clouds”, “Lemonade”, “Weightless” and “Cleaner” contain their share of memorable, albeit odd, pop turns, as well.”

A Taste For Bitters - 1996

All Music Guide pointed out that the band’s 1996 album – “A Taste For Bitters” – was a “very fine, though quite depressing record.” Further on, they commented that “Chokebore’s sadness is the listener’s gain, as this music is moving and pleasant in an unpleasant way.”

“Bitters” became the last album that the band recorded for AmRep and their next efforts came out on Boomba (1998 “Black Black”) and Pale Blue (2002 “It’s A Miracle” and 2003 “A Part From Life”) labels. They also recorded a split with German band Tocotronic in 1996.

Only Angels Have Wings website described “A Part From Life” as “a ‘thank you fans’ record” which didn’t live up to promise of being ” better than the Pixies and Nirvana together”.  After “A Part” the band went on an indefinite hiatus only to return in 2009 with the following message posted on the band’s homepage – “”We are happy to announce that Chokebore are getting back together again to play a handful of shows around Europe”.

Band Members:

Christian Omar Madrigal Izzo (Bis Ende)

James Kroll

Jonathan Kroll

Jungle Boy

Miik (Mike Featherson)

Troy Von Balthazar

Discography:

Motionless (1993 / 2003)

Throats To Hit / Nobody 7″ (1993)

Anything Near Water (1995 / 2003)

Thin As Clouds / Pink Deluxe 7″ (1995)

A Taste For Bitters (1996)

Chokebore / Tocotronic Split 7″ (1996)

Days Of Nothing single (1997)

It Could Ruin Your Day single (1997)

Black Black (1998)

You Are The Sunshine Of My Life 2×7 (1999)

Strange Lines EP (2001)

It’s A Miracle (2002)

A Part From Life (2003)

Selected Compilation Tracks:

“Coat” on 1993 Sampler (Amphetamine Reptile, 1993)

“29 Mile Wind” + “Now I Crawl” + “Throats” + “Line Crush” on Clusterfuck ’94 (Amphetamine Reptile, 1994)

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