Torche

Miami has earned its fair share of notoriety over the last 30 years, but most of it has been nothing to brag about: The Liberty City Riots, the Mariel Boatlift, and the Cocaine Wars of the early 1980s recast the formerly sleepy beach town/retirement colony as a lawless urban hellscape crowded with pimps, powder queens and cutthroats, where liquor-store shootouts, revenge bombings and police corruption threatened to drown the tourist trade in an ocean of blood, booze, and yayo. But now the peace-loving citizens of Miami finally have something they can hoist high as an enduring emblem of cultural and civic pride (besides KC & the Sunshine Band, Gloria Estefan and 2 Live Crew, obviously) …

Enter Torche, the four-pronged Floridian Riff Colossus that has steamrolled its way across the international underground. Led by vocalist/guitarist Steve Brooks (formerly of doom dropouts Floor) and featuring the myriad talents of drummer Rick Smith, bassist Jonathan Nuñez and guitarist Juan Montoya, Torche unfurled their self-titled debut in 2005 via Richmond, Virginia's Robotic Empire. The glorious half-hour of blissed-out power-grooves, triumphant vocal harmonies and cosmic resonance within was variously hailed as "stoner pop," "thunder rock," and "doom pop," but a consensus was quickly reached within the Fourth Estate: Both the underground and mainstream press had their hands halfway down their pants just thinking about listening to Torche. The band was immediately lauded as giants among men, leaders among sheep, and powerbrokers of a deadly new sonic idiom founded upon Brooks' signature "bomb-string" detonation-detune. As Decibel magazine so righteously pointed out in May of 2005, Torche "carries on in the dizzying Sabbathian tradition of Floor, only potentially more bottomless and epic." Seven months later, the same publication would declare Torche as the # 7 album of the year in its annual top 40.

"Never let it be said that bong-rock types hate hooks," Spin magazine announced. "Torche set their guitars on 'dirge,' work their vocal harmonies, and say amen to Foo Fighters' riff-o-matic preaching."

"At long last, we know what life would be like in a parallel universe where the Melvins became a pop sensation instead of Nirvana," Revolver magazine added.

With the verdicts in, Torche swiftly set out to slay, punish & conquer. Stateside tours with Scottish post-rock marvels Mogwai and hypno-metal heroes Isis ensued, as did a European invasion with Savannah sludge captains Baroness. "[Torche's] debut jaunt to the UK will undoubtedly leave a monumental impression on the audiences they have played for as they mix the pop-tinged catchiness of tracks such as 'In Return' and 'Erase' with the likes of 'Iron Girl' and boil it down to a cocktail of raw and powerful sludge-filled beauty," Terrorizer magazine gushed after witnessing the band's show at the Manchester Attic. Rock Sound issued similar proclamations after the London Underworld show: "Louder than a really loud thing, Torche hit the stage with all the grace and subtlety of a misfired nuclear warhead. Sounding far fiercer than on record, the Florida outfit's 'bomb-string' assault is truly a thing to behold."

So: Citizens of Miami, rejoice. Music fans, exult. Torche are about to rule your stereo and your face all over again.

Kenmode

The dance party killing machine

There is a hidden world where ancient evil weaves a modern mystery. A world filled with the darkest magic's where all movement is caused by tensions between positive and negative furies. A world in which the furies, when out of balance, turn into demon and live forever. A creature of fast dark destructive power. Repulsive and evil existing only to plague the living as they do with LO-PAN, who is cursed. Cursed with rock and roll genius. Born out of a combination of dirty rock and roll, stale beer and an unhealthy obsession with "Big Trouble In Little China," Columbus's Lo-Pan have been tearing up the club circuit since 2005. Lo-Pan burst onto the local scene with their locally released self-titled album back in 2006. The local buzz gave way to more national attention as bands told bands and Lo-Pan began gracing venues big and small with names like Red Giant, Devil To Pay, Torche, Saviours, Year Long Disaster, Red Fang, Valkyrie, & the Atomic Bitchwax (just to name a few). Fast forward five years and there's hardly a band worth playing with that they haven't shared a stage with. Enter the sophomore release, "Sasquanaut." Initial pressings on local indie Nice Life Records sold out quickly and as before the best praise is when one band on the road tells another "Hey, man you've got to check this out." Which brought them, album masters in hand to us here at Small Stone. "Sasquanaut" had all the makings of a classic, thunderous low ends, pummeling drums, riffs to die for and a voice that soars but for all the genius that shone through it was still rough around the edges (don't get us wrong we love rough around the edges). So we checked them in to a proper studio and left them in the capable hands of Benny Grotto for a little remixing, a little re-mastering and just ever so much re-recording. Enter Sasquanaut, mark 2: "Sasquanaut (Remixed & Re-mastered)." Heavier, more dynamic, louder and just that tiny bit more polished, this is the album that bands and fans new they could make. Mere words just can't do justice to the effect that a little more time and the proper equipment have had on these eight raging tracks. Maybe a quote from the bands namesake might sum it up. "When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail." The boys heads back into the studio for a proper follow-up this fall and look for the band on tour this winter and remember IT'S ALL IN THE REFLEXES!

$14.00

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Torche with Kenmode, Lo-Pan

Thursday, June 13 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at The Note