The Company Corvette Announce Little Blue Guy Out Dec. 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 16th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

the company corvette

I like this album immediately because it boasts a track called ‘Brain Cells… But Who’s Buying,’ and I enjoy cleverness generally, but if you need to be further disposed toward the work of Philadelphia trio The Company Corvette, how about the fact that guitarist Alexei Korolev and bassist/vocalist Ross Pritchett have been at it for more than a decade and a half. The upcoming Little Blue Guy invites immediate curiosity as to the reference being made — what little blue guy? — and will serve as their fourth full-length following 2016’s Never Enough (review here) with another collection, this time marking the first appearance of drummer Zach Price, recorded with Matt Weber at NJ’s The Gradwell House.

And a side note, condolences to all at Gradwell House for the loss of engineer Steve Poponi (also Up Up Down Down), who passed away on Halloween. I only met Steve once, doing some recording last year with Clamfight, but found him to be personable, knowledgeable, and given to the kind of sarcastic expression common in my opinion to the best producers. Sorry for the loss to his friends, family, colleagues and others who knew or may have worked with him before.

That’s off-topic, I guess, but I don’t get to write about Gradwell House every day, so I take my opportunities when they come. Back to the story at hand, The Company Corvette have posted the raw-rocking “Drag” as a lead single from the record, and while the PR wire makes it seem likely the song is just a small sample of directions the album takes, it’s good to know I’m not the only one who’s apparently spent the last seven years becoming more and more pissed off at the world around me. Also, end cash bail now. End prison while you’re at it.


the company corvette little blue guy


The newest release of a stoner rock band is coming out via Strange Mono Records December 1. Available for pre-orders now.

Strange Mono is announcing the release of the fourth full length record from Philly’s stoned 3 piece The Company Corvette. Alexei Korolev and Ross Pritchett have been at it as The Company Corvette for over 15 years. After 3 albums they welcomed in drummer Zach Price, who proved to be a perfect fit. Their new record ‘Little Blue Guy’ was recorded across the river in NJ, once again with Matt Weber at The Gradwell House. The addition of Zach to the line up, and sticking to what they dig most, their “vision”, if you will, however blurry it may have been, set this album up as their best work to date. As with the last album, the cover features artwork by legendary Drew Elliott (Midnight, Amorphis, Blood Feast, Necrophagia, etc) almost makes it look better than it sounds – and it sounds pretty awesome!

Formed in 2005 The Company Corvette has shared the stage with countless legendary acts – Weedeater, Pentagram, The Obsessed, The Mentors and Truckfighters to name a few– blasting fans with their heavy stoner rock. This new album showcases the band’s pursuit of their singular vision. Covering the spectrum from misery laden doom, sludgy weirdness, heavy metal, dumb’n’fun rock’n’roll. This is stoner rock gone metal-and-back. There are riffs, there’s hooks, there are shreds and roars and psychedelic freakouts and they mean every bit of it.

The titular track ‘Little Blue Guy’ is pure Corvette; a massive dirge of swirling fuzzed out guitars, subdued vocals, and drumming so heavy and precise it’s sure to rattle your chest. “Doom as f*ck. Slow and heavy as we can stand it, with a slab of minimalist psychedelia in the middle – a vacuum of sorts to suck out your brain and then slowly regurgitate it back in. Lyrics stem from that time we ate mushrooms in my(Alexei) old tiny apartment and Ross saw something, or someone.”

As the album progresses tracks like ‘Out Of Control’ and ‘Brain Cells…But Who’s Buying’ ramp up the sludgy rock sound akin to early Melvins with solos. ‘Drag’ stands out with its fast pace, driving riffs, and snarling vocals. “Loosely played thrash metal with a super fun to play guitar solo and lyrics about getting dosed.”

Release: December 1
Genres: stoner rock
Format: 12′ LP, CS, DR
Label: Strange Mono Records

Track List:
1. Little Blue Guy
2. Marshmallow
3. Out Of Control
4. Brain Cells…But Who’s Buying
5. Stupid
6. Drag
7. Ted Tedder
8. Lit The Wrong End

The album rounds out with the stoned out “Ted Tedder” and “Lit The Wrong End” basking in psychedelic freakouts and deep sludgy grooves. “What’s your secret to releasing your best work nearly 20 years into existence?”, the band often gets asked. “Why, it’s no secret”, they say. “Everyone knows the trick – you set the bar low and keep ambitions lower. Make up a super awesome logo, play shows with your friends and cool bands, and release albums whenever you got em!”

Proceeds from sales of this album are being donated to the Philly Bail Fund. As the band comments: “Ending the injustice of money bail requires shifting Philadelphia’s bail system from one that is based on wealth to a fairer and more effective system based on a presumption of release before trial, except in the most exceptional circumstances.”

The Company Corvette:
Alexei Korolev – guitars
Ross Pritchett – bass, vocals
Zach Price – drums

The Company Corvette, Little Blue Guy (2023)

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The Company Corvette, Never Enough: To Get a Fix (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the company corvette never enough

[Click play above to stream ‘Burn Out’ from The Company Corvette’s Never Enough. Album is out Aug. 5 on The Company Records.]

The Company Corvette don’t quite reinvent themselves on their third album, but they wind up pretty close to it by the time they’re done. It was five years ago that the trio of bassist/vocalist Ross Pritchett, guitarist Alexei Korolev and drummer Peter Hurd released their second album, End of the Summers (review here), and at the risk of being honest, it didn’t do it for me. I had seen the band live by then and found them engaging enough, but the record didn’t have the same effect. For the seven-track/38-minute Never Enough, the three-piece hit Gradwell House in New Jersey to work with engineer/mixer Matt Weber, and the resulting material, from the farty bass wah on “Devilwitch” to the spaced-out multi-layered solos of the ultra-stonerized “Burn Out,” showcase a fully developed sonic persona.

At times abrasive, The Company Corvette almost bring to mind a thicker-grooving take on Acid Bath‘s underlying sludge fuckall, and whether they’re messing with faster tempos on “The Stuff” or dug into all-out “Snowblind” nod on opener “Foot in Mouth,” they keep a sense of attitude central to the proceedings, Pritchett‘s vocals moving into harsher territory but even when clean holding onto a (purposefully) dazed drawl, calling to mind Thurston Moore at the start of closer “Pigeon.” Released once again through the band’s own The Company RecordsNever Enough realizes the potential their earlier work showed and brings it to life with a sense of grunged-up heft that becomes its defining element. They’re an act who has clearly put work into sounding like they couldn’t give a shit.

To look at it on the surface, I don’t suppose much has changed since End of the Summers. Sure, Never Enough is a little shorter at 38 minutes (as opposed to 42), but both records end with an extended track, The Company Corvette are still very much a riff-based band, and there’s a consistent sense of dark humor — one can see it in the willfully grotesque album cover by Drew Elliott as well — that runs a thread between both releases. The development, then, is deeper. It’s in the songwriting, in the presentation, in the production and in the attitude, and all of these things come together to make Never Enough stronger from the rolling start of “Foot in Mouth” onward. They seem to wink at early Electric Wizard in “Devilwitch,” but it’s very much a wink, and hard to know if it’s influence or cynical parody — a question that makes the listening experience even more satisfying.

the company corvette

Either way, that added sense of misanthropic stoner-sludge informs the perspective of the tracks around it, and enhances the tuned-in-dropped-out atmosphere of the record as a whole. Feedback helps, of course. “Sick” starts off with a solo layered over its central riff and is somewhat shorter but rawer and more upfront in its groove, Hurd‘s kick drum punctuating as the solid foundation of an almost hypnotic sway, that solo returning after what may or may not be the chorus as Pritchett delivers indecipherable lines about who knows what in a blown-out drawl that’s no less suited to the faster thrust of “Sick” than to the slowed-down plod of album-centerpiece “Stomach,” which follows in garage doom fashion and nods its way through one of Never Enough‘s most memorable hooks across a five-minute duration.

In some ways, “Burn Out” might be thought of as a continuation of some of the same impulses as “Stomach” for its tempo and general crunchiness, but in addition to being longer at 6:38, “Burn Out” also toys more with dynamics, playing back and forth with verses and jams throughout, Pritchett‘s bass playing more of a role in holding together the groove as Korolev spaces out the guitar, adding semi-psych flourish to the proceedings in a manner both classic and weedian. The solo section that comes apart over the bassline at the end and leads directly into the quicker-swinging “The Stuff” in particular is not to be missed. And “The Stuff” is well placed too as the penultimate cut. Between “Burn Out” and “Pigeon,” it’s the shortest track on the record and keeps momentum forward where it might otherwise be too easy to get lost — more evidence for how the band has grown since their last time out.

Breaking at its halfway point, it chugs out a slowdown that serves as a bed for Korolev‘s lead and finishes in feedback and fading hum to let the languid fluidity of “Pigeon” close Never Enough by essentially summarizing what has worked about the record all along, loose vibe, easy flow, for-the-converted groove and all. It’s not a flashy finish in the sense of some grandiose payoff for everything that’s come before it, but they ride out the last riff effectively (with soloing) and in that represent well the barebones, dudes-in-a-room feel conjured so effectively on the prior tracks. As to what The Company Corvette might do next, with five years between records and obviously a fair amount of progression done in that time, I wouldn’t speculate whether Never Enough is the start of a surge of activity or an intermittent check-in, but stylistic leap they’ve made in these tracks should not be understated.

The Company Corvette on Thee Facebooks

The Company Corvette on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Presents: La Otracina Farewell Show at The Acheron in Brooklyn, July 6

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 23rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan


This week, respected Brooklyn venue The Acheron announced that as of next month, it would no longer be hosting shows. It’s a considerable blow to New York’s support system for all things heavy and metal, and from grind to doom and all in between, The Acheron has been a home for one of the most vital undergrounds in the US. Goes without saying that it will be much missed.

It’s been four years since frenetic psych rockers La Otracina toured Europe, and in the interim, members have gone on to found other projects, explore other creative facets. Murmurs of a La Otracina reunion started brewing a while ago, and they’ve done a couple shows over the last few months, but even apart from The Acheron closing, it’s bittersweet to have La Otracina‘s July 6 show, with The Company Corvette and Fox 45 supporting, as one for The Obelisk Presents, because it’s also going to be the official goodbye for the band.

Just days before the venue shuts down, La Otracina will call it quits on one of Brooklyn’s most venerable stages. It’s an ending worthy of the creative breadth La Otracina showed over their prolific career, which is fodder for cult worship if ever there was.

Below, spearhead Adam Kriney talks about the show and what led to his decision to bring the band to an end. Ticket and other links at the bottom of the post.

Adam Kriney on La Otracina’s farewell:

It is with great pride, a clear head and resolved heart that I announce the final LA OTRACINA performance and the true end of the artistic entity known as such. Started many moons ago in 2003, when I had just moved to Brooklyn, the band was my outlet to explore the outer reaches of experimental, progressive, improvised and psychedelic musical worlds, merging them into a unique voice that reflected my interests, abilities, and the contributing talent of who I was playing with at the time.

Over the years, the lineups would change, vibe would change, intentions would change, and generally speaking the group became a pure extension of both my artistic discoveries and creative wants, and I was forever on a search for those who wanted to chart unknown territories with me… and I found many, both willing and resistant, to leap off of the abyss with me, to quite a mixed effect!

So here we are, 13 frenetic, chaotic, and shoulder-shrugging years later, and after about 20 releases (from CD-Rs and splits/comps to 12” EPs and double-albums), and approximately 300 concerts across the US and two European tours (the final one being the massive 46-date/18-country 2012 EU Tour), I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing more to say artistically under this group name. The sordid, bizarre, schizophrenic, multi-genre, juggernaut of LA OTRACINA no longer holds any interest for me to pursue, and is filled with enough emotional baggage and unrequited output/dedication to fill a 747!

Of course since the initial hiatus in 2012, I got extremely involved with the creation of THE GOLDEN GRASS where the majority of my time/energy now resides, to which things are going quite well and joyous! Current (as well as past) guitarist Philippe Ortanez has also been busy with his groups POLYGAMYST and VIMANA which are both worth your investigation. It’s been a wild ride, and the discography speaks for itself… but alas, July 6 2016, shall be the last cosmic dance of the Otra-sonic Spaceship!

Also performing at The Acheron gig will be Rochester, NY heavy doom rock quartet Fox 45 and Philadelphia, PA, psychedelic doom trio The Company Corvette! It’s sure to be a heavy pulsing night from some top notch northeast US bands!

Facebook event page

La Otracina on Thee Facebooks

Ticket purchase

The Acheron website

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The Company Corvette to Release Never Enough Aug. 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the company corvette

Philly trio The Company Corvette are confirmed to take part in Psycho Las Vegas this August, and seemingly in conjunction with that, the band will release their third album, Never Enough, through their own The Company Records imprint on Aug. 5. The full-length was tracked at Gradwell House in NJ with Matt Weber and though they’ve already started writing for the follow-up — you might say they’re living up to the album’s title — the first audio from Never Enough has been posted in the form of the track “Devilwitch,” which you can stream below.

Copious info and background comes off the PR wire:

the company corvette never enough

THE COMPANY CORVETTE: Philly Psychedelic Doom Trio To Release Third LP, Never Enough; Band Confirmed For Psycho Las Vegas

Philadelphia-based THE COMPANY CORVETTE has completed their third full-length recording, Never Enough, with the final details being put in place for an independent, late Summer release, in conjunction with the band’s performance at Psycho Las Vegas and more.

Remaining true to their heavy riff-laden, psychedelically inclined, occasionally laid back, mostly loud, stoner rock-gone-metal-and-back stylistics, THE COMPANY CORVETTE has been fine-tuning and intensifying their sound, reaching towards new levels of sonic honesty that they are drawn to. While the band likes to think of their two earlier releases as “glorified demos,” the new album is a huge step forward for the band in virtually every department.

THE COMPANY CORVETTE’s new LP, Never Enough contains seven songs recorded at Gradwell House Recording in New Jersey with Matt Weber at helm, and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Sleep, Yob, Corrosion Of Conformity) in Oregon. The album features cover artwork by the excellent Drew Elliott (Sunn O)), Amorphis, Rwake, Necrophagia), which captures the imagery within the track Devilwitch and takes band’s visual presentation to new heights. Soon after the recording of Never Enough, Zach Price joined the co-founders, guitarist Alexei Korolev and bassist/vocalist Ross Pritchett taking over the drum duties. Once again releasing the album on their own, as with their prior two records, the trio is feeling super focused and prolific, already demoing a new batch of tunes and looking for opportunities to get out of town.

THE COMPANY CORVETTE will independently release Never Enough on cassette and digital on August 5th, to be followed by a vinyl pressing approximately a month after, all through their own imprint, The Company Records. Stand by for audio samples and more on the album to be issued in the coming weeks.

Never Enough Track Listing:
1. Foot In Mouth
2. Devilwitch
3. Sick
4. Stomach
5. Burn Out
6. The Stuff
7. Pigeon

The release of Never Enough is set in conjunction with THE COMPANY CORVETTE’s performance at Psycho Las Vegas 2016 with Alice Cooper, Electric Wizard, Blue Oyster Cult, Sleep, Boris, Converge, High On Fire, and tons more, the massive festival running from August 26th through 28th. Additional live actions from the band will be posted shortly.

7/06/2016 The Acheron – Brooklyn, NY w/ La Otracina, Fox 45.
8/26-28/2016 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas

The Company Corvette:
Alexei Korolev – guitars
Ross Pritchett – bass, vocals
Peter Hurd – drums

The Company Corvette, “Devilwitch”

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Psycho Las Vegas Announces New Lineup Additions

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan


Goodness gracious. Here I was minding my business on a Sunday night and Psycho Las Vegas went and more than doubled the size of its lineup, adding Uncle Acid, Elder, Converge, Wovenhand, Boris, The Black Heart Procession, Budos Band, Dead Meadow, SubRosa, Midnight, Disenchanter, Lumerians, Tombstones, ASG, Death Alley, Ides of Gemini, Goya, Dirty Streets, Crypt Sermon, Mantar, Gozu, Beelzefuzz, Lo-Pan, Holy Grove, CHRCH, Carousel and more. Not like the fest wasn’t huge already, but big bands, small bands, in-between bands, European bands, Asian bands, West Coast bands, East Coast bands — pretty much if it falls under the category of “bands,” they’re probably playing. And by way of a friendly reminder, this isn’t it. As you can see in the lineup below, there are more announcements to come next month.

Just look at this insane shit:

psycho las vegas poster


Psycho Entertainment
Friday, August 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM – Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 12:00 AM (PDT)
Las Vegas, NV

(Announced March 3rd)
(Announced March 3rd)
SPENCER MOODY SOLO (Murder City Devils)

Psycho Pool Party 8.25.16

Join the bands and crew at the Hard Rock Hotel & use the code: Psych16 at checkout to recieve 30% off your rooms.

1/20 – “Warm up” Tickets Onsale 8am pst
2/14 – Full Lineup (60+ acts)
3/15 – Headliners Revealed
5/4 – Van/Chopper & Alt Exhibitions

Sleep, Live at Psycho California, May 16, 2015

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The Company Corvette, End of the Summers: Led by the Riff

Posted in Reviews on June 26th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

An unpretentious three-piece from the rocking pile of rubble known as Philadelphia, PA, The Company Corvette embark on heavy naturalism with their second full-length, End of the Summers. The follow-up to last year’s The Company Meeting and self-released through their own The Company Records (wow, somebody should really get them on the bill with The Company Band and make a theme night of it), the album offers few frills, the guitar of Alexei, the bass/vocals of Ross and the drums of Peter being as traditional in what they are as they are in what they do. The eight songs are laid back, not boring, but will be immediately familiar to anyone with experience in heavy or stoner rock, Ross’ vocals periodically weaving into and out of a Fu Manchu-style delivery while Alexei’s guitar – which seems to want to be fuzzier than it is; an issue of production more than tone – ignites friendly, accessible riffage behind. They’ve been together since 2008, and they have two records out, but The Company Corvette as they appear here seem to still be getting their bearings on what they want their sound to be, though at this point the recordings are nearly two years old (not that I knew when I got it for review, but the album came out last year). The results on their sophomore outing come across as wanting in production and direction, but the album still has a share of catchy songs, tracks like “Something New,” in which Ross wastes no time delivering the album’s title line, and “Blame it all on Me” clearly having been put up front on purpose to maximize the initial impression, and “One Over” following shortly with a bluesy groove in his verse. Once one goes deeper into End of the Summers’ 42 minutes, however, it’s easy to find material that stands out less from what’s around it, though the descending bass line on “Henry,” the third track, is probably the album’s best. If it seems like I’m back and forth on The Company Corvette, I am.

And as someone who uses the level of reaction an album provokes as well as the reaction itself to factor into the final analysis, that End of the Summers would leave me cold, even on repeat listens, doesn’t inspire confidence, whatever else might be playing out on my end that might also contribute to that being the case. But still, The Company Corvette is a relatively new band, obviously recording their stuff on a budget, and releasing it on their own. Ragging on the recording for not properly playing up the inherent dynamics in their verses and choruses seems like kind of a dick move – and if that makes writing this review like pulling the proverbial teeth, so be it. On a performance level, there’s pretty much nothing in these eight songs to argue with. Ross’ vocals vary in their level of effectiveness – nothing new for singers in this genre – but structurally, he follows the riff almost exclusively, and with next to no if not no variation from that pattern, there’s a feeling of redundancy that comes up by the time the later track “Bear in Mind” leads into closer “Third I.” If he’s going for that Scott Hill, “I surf in the mornings and then I go record in the afternoons” vibe, he’s touching on it, but it might be a confidence question, or at least some self-consciousness, holding him back from ranging in either approach or emotionality. That’s something that comes with time. To contrast, Alexei’s guitar is crisply presented and well layered next to the bass, but except in cases where the guitar is soloing, both Alexei, Ross and Peter are all moving in the same direction and a lot of the danger that the whole thing might derail that seems rooted in the best power trios is absent here – it’s almost too safe. Even when Alexei steps aside for a solo and takes something of a sonic chance, he’s not really shifting the atmosphere, and if the songs are going to wind up as showcases for his leads, I’m left wondering what it is that I’m supposed to take away from “Regular Skip” in the first place.

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Live Review: Truckfighters, The Midnight Ghost Train, Skeleton Hands and The Company Corvette in Philly, 03.16.12

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

The decision to hit Philadelphia instead of Brooklyn — which had been the plan all along — was made the night before. There was the looming prospect of family in from out of town (who would arrive Saturday afternoon) and inevitable obligations stemming from that which skipping out on would almost certainly result in my being seen as a complete jerk. “Here’s your seven-week-old baby back, I gotta head to Williamsburg.” Shit just doesn’t fly.

So, instead of that, Philly on Friday. It was two hours in the car each way, but Brooklyn probably would’ve been that too — especially if they were giving the Holland Tunnel its nightly power-washing — and there was the added advantage of not having to park in, or be in, Brooklyn on a Saturday night. I left work early — the excuse was another bonus — and headed south on the Turnpike like a man on a mission.

Perhaps that mission was a little too successful, because I was early as hell. The enthusiastic dude at the door of The Station, which was playing host to touring acts Truckfighters and The Midnight Ghost Train as well as local support Skeleton Hands and The Company Corvette, recommended hitting the South Philly Tap Room down the block for dinner and pre-show boozing, and even unadvertised mustard on my hamburger didn’t stop it from ruling. The place was packed, and it was chilly eating outside, but several Kenzingers helped me pretend it was summer and not, you know, still the middle of March.

Reports that The Station allowed smoking inside turned out to be true, but when I got back to the two-level venue — one bar a few steps up from another where a stage-less performance space was cleared out — that didn’t stop me from saying “fuck yeah” out loud. It was going to be close quarters and a late night, but that’s exactly what I was looking for. In short order, The Company Corvette got going and the night was under way.

I knew literally nothing about the Philly natives going into their set, but they were a good start to the show, proffering straight-up, still developing stonerisms in good working order. They seemed to be still finding their path, musically, but I like that in bands, so I was into their riff-led Sleep-y grooves. Curious that later, someone (obviously drunk, and it wasn’t someone actually from the three-piece) took it on themselves to try to put a logo sticker on Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm from Truckfighters‘ bass while he was playing it, but it was that kind of night. Smoky, drunk, riffy. Philly is a rock and roll town. That kind of shit happens there.

Between The Company Corvette and Skeleton Hands, who were more directly derived from the Southern heavy tradition, the City of Brotherly Love gave a pretty decent showing of its stoner scene. There were probably bigger bands who could’ve been on the bill — Sadgiqacea come immediately to mind, though they’re less directly in the genre; and I think Clamfight only played five shows last week, so they could’ve hacked another — but it seemed like both of the openers had, at one point or another, legitimately taken a cue on some level from Truckfighters, and that’s always encouraging. Skeleton Hands, for what it’s worth, also had probably the biggest crowd of the night.

Vocalist Pete Hagen laid it on thick with the post-Alabama Thunderpussy inflection, and like The Company Corvette, Skeleton Hands seemed to be in their formative stages, but they’ve obviously already made an impression if their draw is anything to go by. Being an out-of-towner (everywhere), I wondered a bit at times if there wasn’t something I was missing, but as Skeleton Hands hit the dense hook of their eponymous song, it was hard not to be consumed by the groove of it. They had CDs for sale with a “donation,” and I’d already gotten one before they played, but when they were done, I didn’t regret it.

How many years it had been since the last time I saw The Midnight Ghost Train play, I’m not entirely sure. I remember, vaguely, the show was in Bayonne, in Jersey, and I remember digging them a lot, but if you told me it was any date between 2006 and 2008, I’d have no choice but to believe you. In any case, guitarist/vocalist/madman Steve Moss got on the mic in Philly like a forgotten Ellwood, talking all kinds of indecipherable throaty jive about being on tour with Truckfighters and this and that. Hard to pick up what he was putting down, at least until the songs started. Then the mystery disappeared.

Not sure how to say it other than to say it, but they were killer. I know The Midnight Ghost Train‘s 2009 self-titled full-length (review here) was right on, but that was a different band entirely. In Philly, their sound was full, and exciting, and delivered with an energy that stood up to Truckfighters — which, if you’ve ever seen the headliners, you know is saying something — and their set, which was mostly comprised of new material according to the conversation I had with Moss afterward, was a stunner. Legitimately. I already knew I liked the band and they still caught me off guard.

Even when Moss busted a string on his guitar and had to get out a second one in the middle of the song — the name “Sophia” was stenciled on road case a bit to the left of the band’s logo — I don’t think bassist David Kimmell even stopped headbanging to look and see what was going on. They build up righteous momentum, Moss flailed his preacher’s hands as he ranted and raved, and the rock went epic. Drummer Brandon Burghart had his work cut out for him holding the songs to ground, but they never got out of control when they didn’t want to, and as a rhythm section, Kimmell and Burghart stood up to Moss‘ considerable barrage of riffs, leads and well-spit verses.

They reportedly start recording their new album tomorrow, March 20, in Georgia with one of the dudes from Harvey Milk putting them to 2″ tape. I’ll look forward to that, but in the meantime, I learned before Truckfighters went on that the two bands would be playing what was billed as a secret Tee Pee Records showcase in Manhattan on Sunday with NYC natives Mirror Queen opening, and was suddenly way less bummed out about missing the Brooklyn show the next night. The room had settled some during The Midnight Ghost Train‘s set as some of those who were only showing up for the locals had split and others had come for the touring acts, but if it wasn’t sold out, it’s only because they kept letting people into The Station. I grabbed a spot in front of the P.A. to stage right and waited.

You know, I had been a little bummed out seeing the reports and video coming out of this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas, last week. Lots of good bands, lots of good showcases, and for me, some pretty positive memories of years past, hazy though they are. With the first cycling through of the riff to “Desert Cruiser,” all that went right out the window. Drummer Oscar “Pezo” Johansson dropped trow — literally, he played in his boxers — and recently-interviewed guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren took off his shirt, and off they went.

Truckfighters are rock at the speed of go. It was only a few months ago I saw them rip a hole through Cake Shop in Manhattan, but seeing that only made this show all the more necessary. On a tour that in terms neither of routing nor personnel involved was what they thought it would be, Truckfighters flourished and hit with an astonishing level of energy. It was like they were pushing the material to see how far it could go, how hard it could hit, how fuzzed it could get. Where I stood, Cedermalm‘s vocals were coming through so loud at times they hurt, even with the sock he put over the mic (which, incidentally, is where that The Company Corvette sticker ended up) but it was worth it to be that close to rock that visceral.

“Desert Cruiser” wasn’t over before Källgren was rolling on the ground kicking his legs in the air, and their whole set pretty much looked like riffy calisthenics, though they’re probably also the most audience-minded act I’ve seen in this genre — in people’s faces the whole time, taking advantage of their wireless setups (which also adds some compression to their tonal crunch that they seem to use to their advantage) to walk through the crowd, and, in Cedermalm‘s case, jumping on the bar before the encore to ask everyone if they wanted to hear another song — so they made it work and the audience had no choice but to go along with them. Not that there was much resistance, but it would’ve been pointless if there had been, is what I’m saying.

The set was pretty well balanced, with three songs from 2005’s Gravity X debut, two from 2007’s Phi, and three from 2009’s Mania, which is set for North American reissue in May as Truckfighters‘ debut on Tee Pee, but though it was killer to hear “Last Curfew” and “Traffic,” and “Monte Gargano” was a crowd favorite, I was even more stoked on “Majestic,” the 13-minute Mania masterpiece the payoff of which was so huge as to serve as the high point of an already excellent set. I’d been hoping for “Con of Man,” which they didn’t play, but they hit “Analougus” from the 2004 Fuzzorama compilation, The Ultimate Fuzz Collection, as the first part of a two-song encore that finished out with “In Search Of,” which seems to be the permanent closer. Hard to argue with its position.

I don’t remember what time it was exactly when they finished, but I know I got back to my humble river valley at about four in the morning, so I’d put it somewhere close to two. If you’ve never had the pleasure, the middle of the night is the best time to drive on the New Jersey Turnpike, or any major highway for that matter, barring accidents or construction — neither of which was hit on the way back north — and though I didn’t sleep nearly as late Saturday morning as I’d have liked, I did have plenty to look forward to going into Sunday night’s secret show.

More pics after the jump.

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