Finn Ryan Announces Departure from The Atomic Bitchwax

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the atomic bitchwax

At the time, when Finn Ryan started playing guitar and singing in The Atomic Bitchwax alongside bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and then-drummer Keith Ackerman — since replaced by Bob Pantella — the question was how the New Jersey-based three-piece would ever recover from the departure of guitarist Ed Mundell. Ryan, who did not participate in the Bitchwax‘s Summer 2018 European tour and today announces his own departure from the band, would play on five studio albums — the bulk of their catalog — and form a dynamic with Kosnik and Pantella in the studio and on stage that was largely unmatched. With an intent to get and stay clean, Ryan will look ahead to new projects.

Now also serving as the rhythm section of Monster Magnet, Kosnik and Pantella recruited that band’s lead guitarist, Garrett Sweeney, to fill the third spot on the last tour, but no word on whether that’s a permanent situation. The Atomic Bitchwax are just one of the Tee Pee Records acts slated to take part in Desertfest NYC 2019 next May.

I helped Ryan put together this announcement and was humbled to be asked to do so:

finn ryan the atomic bitchwax

Guitarist Finn Ryan to Leave The Atomic Bitchwax

Guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan of New Jersey-based heavy rockers has announced his departure from the band. Ryan, who also founded Core in 1996, joined The Atomic Bitchwax in 2005, revitalizing the band founded by bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik after a split with original guitarist Ed Mundell.

Ryan’s first album with The Atomic Bitchwax was 2005’s 3, and he would go on to play with them through the Boxriff EP/live album, 2008’s T4B, 2011’s The Local Fuzz, 2015’s Gravitron and 2017’s Force Field. Following The Local Fuzz, the three-piece of Kosnik, Ryan and drummer Bob Pantella commenced an album cycle of busier touring in the US, Europe and beyond, and Gravitron took on a harder-hitting, ultra-tight sound because of it.

Ryan did not participate in the band’s latest European run in July/August, ceding guitar duties to Garrett Sweeney (also Monster Magnet). He elaborates on the decision:

“After the last tour we did in the States, I decided to enter rehab for my addiction issues. For a long time, I have struggled with anxiety and depression which led to unhealthy coping methods. My situation became so critical that I had to enter treatment and unfortunately miss a European tour.

“While in treatment, I came to understand my health is the most important thing in my life, and, consequently, I have decided to take a step back and stop performing with The Atomic Bitchwax.”

The interplay of Ryan not only on guitar but in sharing vocal duties with Kosnik helped redefine The Atomic Bitchwax’s dynamic as unmistakable along the Eastern Seaboard or elsewhere. In 2013, Kosnik joined Pantella as a member of Monster Magnet, but still, The Atomic Bitchwax kept to a busy schedule of recording and touring.

“I’ve had an amazing last 13 years with Bob and Chris — two incredibly talented musicians and really great people,” Ryan notes. “I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting tons of awesome fans, and fellow musicians who have kindly reached out to me to show their support.”

Signed to Tee Pee Records, The Atomic Bitchwax have been confirmed for the lineup of the inaugural Desertfest New York in 2019. No word on whether Sweeney or another player will step into the guitarist role.

As for Ryan, he says, “With this new outlook on life, I plan on moving forward with my music, and am currently working on some new projects and always have room to consider working with other touring musicians. Anyone interested in getting in touch with me, can hit me up on Instagram at @FinnFRyan, and/or finnfryan@gmail.com.”

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The Atomic Bitchwax, “Hippie Speedball” official video

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The Atomic Bitchwax Touring Europe in July & August

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the atomic bitchwax

The moral of the story would seem to be it’s a busy summer coming up for The Atomic Bitchwax. The New Jersey-based stalwarts of headspinning riffery had already announced a North American run in June with The Sword, and now it seems that once that’s over, they’ll go home for a couple weeks and then head back out, this time to Europe, where they’ll take part in gigs alongside Yawning Man and 1000mods as well as the SonicBlast Moledo festival and others. The North American tour is presented by Tone Deaf, the European by Sound of Liberation.

They go, of course, in support of late-2017’s Force Field (review here) on Tee Pee Records, their seventh album and prove that the ferocity of their approach remains steady and that the three-piece have only grown tighter with all the road time they’ve put in over the last couple years. I could go on and on about that, but the bottom line is these guys are on fire right now, and if you miss them it’s at your own peril.

Here’s dates and such from the PR wire:

the atomic bitchwax tour

The Atomic Bitchwax – European Tour 2018!!

Still promoting their latest (and most badass!) album “Force Field”, released in December 2017 via Tee Pee Records, New Jersey’s The Atomic Bitchwax will return to Europe this summer!

Check-out the dates below, and plan your vacations accordingly! You don’t want to miss them if they come near your town!

The Atomic Bitchwax w/ The Sword:
6/07 Albuquerque NM @ Launchpad
6/08 Tucson AZ @ 191 Toole
6/09 San Diego CA @ Belly Up
6/11 Portland OR @ Wonder Ballroom
6/12 Bellingham WA @ Wild Buffalo
6/13 Vancouver BC @ Venue
6/15 Calgary AB @ Marquee
6/16 Edmonton AB @ Union Hall
6/17 Regina SK @ The Exchange
6/18 Winnipeg MB @ Pyramid
6/19 Chicago IL @ Thalia Hall
6/20 Cincinnati OH @ Bogart’s
6/22 Pittsburgh PA @ Mr Smalls Theatre
6/23 Washington DC @ Rock N’ Roll Hotel
6/24 New York NY @ Irving Plaza
6/26 Johnson City TN @ Capone’s
6/27 Nashville TN @ Exit/In
6/29 Hot Springs AR @ Maxine’s

The Atomic Bitchwax European tour:
20.07.18 (D) Cottbus | Zum Faulen August
21.07.18 (D) Siegen | Vortex
22.07.18 (NL) Leeuwarden | Welcome To The Village
23.07.18 (D) Karlsruhe | Alte Hackerei
25.07.18 (HUN) Budapest | A38
26.07.18 (CRO) Zagreb | Vintage Industrial Bar
27.07.18 (A) Ebensee | Kino Ebensee
29.07.18 (D) Munich | Backstage (*with 1000Mods)
30.07.18 (D) Dresden | Ostpol
31.07.18 (D) Wiesbaden | Schlachthof (*with Yawning Man)
01.08.18 (D) Berlin | Cassiopeia (*with Mammoth Mammoth)
02.08.18 (D) Hamburg | Hafenklang
03.08.18 (D) Beelen | Krach am Bach
04.08.18 (GR) Almiros | Los Almiros Festival
06.08.18 (UK) Coventry | The Phoenix
07.08.18 (UK) Glasgow | Audio
08.08.18 (UK) London | The Black Heart
09.08.18 (UK) Bristol | The Exchange
10.08.18 (B) Kortrijk | Alcatraz Festival
11.08.18 (PO) Moledo | Sonic Blast Moledo

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The Atomic Bitchwax, “Hippie Speedball” official video premiere

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The Atomic Bitchwax Premiere Video for “Hippie Speedball”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the atomic bitchwax

There’s a moment at about 1:40 into the 2:26 ‘Hippie Speedball’ where founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik of The Atomic Bitchwax lets loose this quick run that will absolutely, 100 percent knock you on your ass. Should you be surprised? Hells bells, no. Shifting their audience out of an upright position — i.e., relocation to “on ass” — has become standard practice for the long-running New Jersey trio of Kosnik, guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and drummer Bob Pantella. Ever since their 2011 riff-splurge, The Local Fuzz (review here), and most definitely once they came around to 2015’s more aggressive Gravitron (review here), they’ve been recharged and completely on the attack. Late 2017’s Force Field (review here) is just the latest manifestation of this impulse that’s been at the heart of the band since their 1999 debut.

It may, however, also be the most badass manifestation. The Bitchwax have been around long enough that given fans are going to have given favorite records. Hey, that’s cool. But as the three-piece move forward with Force Field and get ready to hit the road supporting The Sword — funny, I recall seeing the two bands together in Jersey opening for Kyuss Lives! and The Atomic Bitchwax had Dave Witte filling in on drums; Black Cobra also played that night; weird show, but awesome — they do so at their most progressive moment. They seem at this point not only to be challenging themselves physically, as in, “Can we possibly play faster than this?,” but also as songwriters: “Can we write songs that speed by listeners in a blur but are still somehow memorable?” The answer, at least on Force Field, is a resounding yes.

To wit, “Hippie Speedball” is an unbridled beast of a track. Placed right at the open of Force Field it’s primed to shake even the least shakable of posterior chains, and the new video for the track, with clips out of old sci-fi movies, the band jamming out and good fun all around, could hardly do more to represent some of what works best about the record as a whole: excellent band, all cylinders, killer tune, hitting the road. How could you call that anything but a win?

I consider pretty much any time I get to post about The Atomic Bitchwax a favor to myself, so I’m extra thrilled today to be able to host the premiere of the “Hippie Speedball” clip, which you’ll find on the player below. The tour dates with The Sword and more info off the PR wire follow.

Enjoy:

The Atomic Bitchwax, “Hippie Speedball” official video premiere

Recorded at the Freakshop in Keyport, New Jersey, mixed at The Panic Room in Ocean, New Jersey and mastered by Alan Douches (CHELSEA WOLFE, TOMBS, THE OBSESSED), “Force Field” sees THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX’s high energy, scale-based guitar mangling hitting astronomical levels, with full stack amps pushing out dangerous levels of blown-out metallic mayhem. An awe-inducing tumult of head-down forward drive and top tier hard rock, “Force Field” mashes sci-fi and hi-fi, rocketing THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX into the outer reaches of the modern-day heavy music universe.

The Atomic Bitchwax w/ The Sword:
6/07 Albuquerque NM @ Launchpad
6/08 Tucson AZ @ 191 Toole
6/09 San Diego CA @ Belly Up
6/11 Portland OR @ Wonder Ballroom
6/12 Bellingham WA @ Wild Buffalo
6/13 Vancouver BC @ Venue
6/15 Calgary AB @ Marquee
6/16 Edmonton AB @ Union Hall
6/17 Regina SK @ The Exchange
6/18 Winnipeg MB @ Pyramid
6/19 Chicago IL @ Thalia Hall
6/20 Cincinnati OH @ Bogart’s
6/22 Pittsburgh PA @ Mr Smalls Theatre
6/23 Washington DC @ Rock N’ Roll Hotel
6/24 New York NY @ Irving Plaza
6/26 Johnson City TN @ Capone’s
6/27 Nashville TN @ Exit/In
6/29 Hot Springs AR @ Maxine’s

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Review & Full Album Stream: The Atomic Bitchwax, Force Field

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on December 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the atomic bitchwax force field

[Click play above to stream The Atomic Bitchwax’s Force Field in its entirety. Album is out Dec. 8 on Tee Pee Records.]

The seventh full-length from veteran New Jersey heavy rockers The Atomic Bitchwax would seem to mirror the mania of their work ethic over the last several years. That is, it’s ready to go. Released by Tee Pee Records and given the title Force Field, it continues a thread of hard-hitting, riff-bending, head-spinning vitality that one found typifying the personality of 2015’s Gravitron (review here), marked by the delivery of the band’s trademark hooks at blazing tempos and with a harder-edged production style than one found on their earlier material.

In hindsight, this thread may have begun on 2011’s The Local Fuzz (review here), which, in what seemed a reactionary move at the time, was comprised of a single-track instrumental riff-fest, essentially pummeling the listener with turn after turn for 40-odd minutes. Gravitron and Force Field — if their next album title doesn’t involve the word “plasma” somehow, I’m going to be personally disappointed; perhaps even “plasma inducer?” — make fitting complements to each other because of consistency of style between them, but both seem to have emerged at a sprint from out of where The Local Fuzz had positioned the three-piece of bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik, guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and drummer Bob Pantella.

It seems that in a way that couldn’t be appreciated at the time, The Local Fuzz could have been a pivotal moment in terms of the Bitchwax figuring out their course as this increasingly established lineup of the band took shape following Kosnik and Ryan first bringing in Pantella (known for his work in Monster Magnet, of which Kosnik is now also a member) on 2008’s TAB4, following Ryan‘s coming on board with 2005’s 3 (discussed here) — which, perhaps coincidentally, also boasted a track titled “Force Field.” In any case, where TAB4 demonstrated a sheen in its production and delved into more mid-paced and semi-psychedelic songwriting, nearly a decade later, The Atomic Bitchwax come across post-The Local Fuzz almost as a different band — they are supercharged, unforgivingly tight, and aggressive as they burn through Force Field‘s 12 tracks and 34 minutes, offering mere seconds of letup along the way.

And even those, relatively speaking, hit pretty hard. Eight of the 12 inclusions on Force Field clock in under the three-minute mark, and none of the rest touch four — the longest is “Alaskan Thunder Fuck” at 3:48 — and though the verse of “Crazy” seems to straighten out the otherwise winding style of riff that has been a hallmark of The Atomic Bitchwax‘s work since their 1999 self-titled debut and very much is here as well, a tense line of keys and, later in the track, tambourine, assure that the energy level is consistent with surrounding pieces like the full-boar “Shocker” and the instrumental “Fried, Dyed and Layin’ to the Side,” which follows.

If the effort the band has been fatigued at all by the uptick in touring they’ve undertaken in the US and abroad over the last several years, Force Field utterly refuses to show it. From opener “Hippie Speedball” through “Earth Shaker (Which Doobie U Be)” and into the landmark chorus of “Shell of a Man” and the unbridled scorch of “Houndstooth” and ‘Tits and Bones,” The Atomic Bitchwax execute fuzzy fury with precision and sound like a band with no time to waste on anything less than that.

the atomic bitchwax

Through this barrage — one might call it an “assault” were the tones not still so welcoming and their attention to melody still so much a factor in their approach overall — there are times where it seems like a miracle the songs manage to stay as memorable as they are, but in addition to the unshakable foundation of Pantella‘s drumming, variety in the arrangements of vocals between Kosnik and Ryan helps emphasize standout moments across what might otherwise be a totally blinding span, and beneath Force Field‘s surface, the complexity and nuance brought to its progressive turns prove that while it’s in a rush, it was not itself rushed in the making, which is a huge difference in the overall outcome.

As to that outcome, what one takes away from Force Field particularly in the context of Gravitron before it is how much The Atomic Bitchwax at this stage have managed to bridge the gap between classic boogie and the inherent intensity of the US East Coast. Songs like “Shocker” and the penultimate “Super Highway” aren’t shy about their punk aspects, but the groove even of a go-go-go-run-run-run piece like “Super Highway” or the preceding “Humble Brag” remains prevalent, even if one finds it overarching the quickened pulse, rather than resulting directly from, say a nod riff or undulating progression.

In that, it’s “Hippie Speedball” at the outset that sets the tone effectively by striking a balance between thrust and memorability that the band continues to proffer in dynamic fashion. Listening to Kosnik‘s run on bass under Ryan‘s solo during the first solo in the opener, the message regarding chemistry resounds, and the call and response in “Earth Shaker (Which Doobie U Be?)” only reinforces the idea, but the truth is it’s everywhere across Force Field how unreal this band has become in crafting songs that are both fiery and likely to leave a lasting impression.

As is their wont, they shake up their approach with the closer, and in this case, “Liv a Little” with its organ, synthesized-sounding handclaps, blown-out vocals and somewhat slower pacing recalls classic glam rock more than some of the psychedelia they’ve touched on in the past or the poppier vibes they’ve elicited in pieces like “Ice Age (Hey Baby)” from Gravitron, “Wreck You” from TAB4 or even the spacey “Half as Much” from 3. Even with the semi-shift in style, “Liv a Little” over in 2:42 as if to highlight the crispness of Force Field on the whole and the sheer will with which The Atomic Bitchwax at this stage in their tenure — nearly 20 years since forming, nearly 10 with this lineup — keep their material so lean and, indeed, forceful. Their style is utterly their own, and they sound like a band having a blast while pushing themselves physically and aesthetically. Accordingly, while dizzying, Force Field makes for an absolute joy of a listening experience.

The Atomic Bitchwax, “Houndstooth” official video

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The Atomic Bitchwax Post “Houndstooth” Video; Force Field out Dec. 8

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the atomic bitchwax

Gearing up to start a European tour with Greenleaf and Steak on Dec. 1, New Jersey heavy rock forerunners The Atomic Bitchwax will issue their seventh album, Force Field, via Tee Pee Records on Dec. 8. I’ll have a review up one way or the other before the record lands, but the short version is it’s a blazing follow-up to to the aggro charge of 2015’s Gravitron (review here), only further tightened by a renewed commitment to touring that’s seen the power trio tearing ass across Europe, North America and South America. They have bordered on relentless.

The new album does likewise. It’s longest track is “Alaskan Thunder Fuck” at a whopping 3:48 and even that has not a moment to spare in its pursuit of dizzying turns and the band’s trademark winding riffing. With vocal trades between founding bassist Chris Kosnik and guitarist Finn Ryan atop the propulsive drumming of Bob Pantella, the Bitchwax haven’t lost the melodic sensibility that emerged amid the mid-paced fare of records like 2005’s 3 (discussed here) or 2008’s TAB4, but ever since 2011’s single-song instrumental outing The Local Fuzz (review here), the band has gotten faster, meaner and Force Field is rawer in its approach, unafraid to say “fuck” when it wants to, and it rocks with a show-’em-how-it’s-done efficiency that easily distinguishes their boogie from just about everything else the Eastern Seaboard of the US has to offer.

Seriously. Check out their new video for “Houndstooth” below and find me another band on the East Coast who does this kind of thing better than the Bitchwax do it. I dare you.

They just don’t exist.

Again, more to come on Force Field sometime in the next week, but for now, you can dig into the sunglasses-on vibes of “Houndstooth” below, followed by more info from the PR wire and those European tour dates, which are presented by Sound of Liberation.

Please enjoy:

The Atomic Bitchwax, “Houndstooth” official video

Featuring the powerhouse rhythm section from legendary space lords Monster Magnet, The Atomic Bitchwax plays balls-to-the-wall rock ‘n’ roll that smashes space rock and proto-metal into a towering celebration of the riff. The New Jersey power trio (aka TAB) will release its seventh full length LP, Force Field, on December 8 via Tee Pee Records.

Recorded at the Freakshop in Keyport, NJ , mixed at The Panic Room in Ocean, NJ and mastered by Alan Douches (Chelsea Wolfe, Tombs, The Obsessed), The Atomic Bitchwax’s high energy, scale-based guitar mangling hits astronomical levels on Force Field, with full stack amps pushing out dangerous levels of blown-out metallic mayhem. An awe-inducing tumult of head-down forward drive and top tier hard rock, Force Field mashes Sci-Fi and Hi-Fi, rocketing The Atomic Bitchwax into the outer reaches of the modern day heavy music universe.

Track listing:
1.) Hippie Speedball
2.) Earth Shaker (Which Doobie U Be)
3.) Alaskan Thunder F*ck
4.) Shocker
5.) Crazy
6.) Fried Dyed And Layin To The Side
7.) Shell of a Man
8.) Houndstooth
9.) Tits and Bones
10.) Humble Brag
11.) Super Highway
12.) Liv A Little

Pre-order Force Field at this location.

The Atomic Bitchwax w/ Greenleaf & Steak:
01.12.17 – London | Underworld
02.12.17 – Brussels | Magasin 4
03.12.17 – Hamburg | Markthalle
04.12.17 – Cologne | Luxor
05.12.17 – Wiesbaden | Schlachthof
06.12.17 – Leipzig | Werk2
07.12.17 – Munich | Feierwerk
08.12.17 – Olten | Schuetzenhaus
09.12.17 – Linz | Posthof
10.12.17 – Vienna | Arena
11.12.17 – Stuttgart | Universum
12.12.17 – Saarbruecken | Garage
13.12.17 – Nijmegen | Doornroosje
14.12.17 – Paris | Glazart
15.12.17 – Dortmund | JunkYard
16.12.17 – Berlin | Bi Nuu

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