Music News

The Atomic Bitchwax

Despite having been around for years, the Atomic Bitchwax is practically a new band. At the time of its late-'90s launch, the group was a largely instrumental outfit in which moonlighting Monster Magnet guitarist Ed Mundell was viewed as more equal than his partners, bassist Chris Kosnik and drummer Keith Ackerman. After two full-lengths and an EP, however, the Atomics split, and when the radioactivity dissipated, Kosnik and Ackerman were in and Mundell was out. This division didn't bode well for the group's future, and neither did Kosnik's decision to form another three-piece, the impressively noisy Black NASA. Nevertheless, the rhythm-section mates beat the odds by recruiting guitarist/singer Finn Ryan and transforming Bitchwax into a more conventional power trio. Unlike its predecessors, The Atomic Bitchwax 3, recently issued by the Meteor City imprint, has plenty of vocals courtesy of Ryan and Kosnik, not to mention nasty riffing, freak-out arrangements and the brand of smoking performances preferred by the stoner-rock crowd. The album falls short of classic status, but its solidity is one reason the Atomic Bitchwax, playing the Larimer alongside Black Lamb and Half of Zero, survived its own explosion.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts