Contributing to that ever-blurring line between what’s strictly audio and what’s strictly video comes NJ’s own fuzzmasters, The Atomic Bitchwax, with Boxriff, a single release that is at once an EP of new material, a live record, and a concert DVD. Not bad for two discs in one jewel case, particularly when there’s this much rock involved.
Much has been made in the Jersey scene of the past involvement of one Ed Mundell in this band, but since replacing him on guitar with ex-Core mainman Finn Ryan, Chris Kosnik (bass/vocals) and Keith Ackerman (drums) have never sounded better. They nailed their sound perfectly on the full-length 3—the first release with Ryan in the band—and on Boxriff, they take everything one step further, into territory previously unknown to The Bitchwax.
A big part of the expansion comes from the production. Jack Endino, who has produced for the likes of Nirvana, Screaming Trees, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Nebula and a hundred others, helmed the session for the new tracks, which took place for five days in the midst of a west coast tour. By no means does the music sound hurried, however. The songs were brand new at that point, but the material is nonetheless both fresh and established. The groove is well-laced.
With such a wealth of material here, Boxriff makes the perfect fan piece and introduction to the band. The live set features old-school favorites like “Birth To The Earth,” “Ice Pick Freek” and “Shit Kicker,” alongside 3 tracks “The Destroyer” and the Deep Purple cover “Maybe I’m A Leo.” Even Endino Session track “Kiss The Sun” does double duty, appearing live and in studio form, making the concert all the more comprehensive.
As the ultimate test for a concert DVD is putting it on as background for a party, The Bitchwax’s contribution couldn’t be more appropriate for the cause. The band is at their most exciting live and the DVD isn’t over-the-top or showy, keeping a real raw rock feel reminiscent of your favorite ’70s bootlegs. Again, “appropriate” is the word.
There was a lot that had to come together to make this release work. Fortunately for everyone who listens to it, it did.