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Gold standards
News and notes on Pixies, Clinton Sparks, Hellfest, and more

Is Primary Voltage Records kaput? Looks that way. Owner/operator Evan Koch, always a class act, is taking an extended break to get his MBA at the Wharton School. Heís leaving the future of the label somewhat open-ended ó "I canít do it next year," he says ó but itís clear that for the time being, the bands on the label, including the Information, Baby Strange, the Good North, and the ska band Mass Hysteria, are looking for new homes. "Evan is a smart business person and did a great job with a small label in this city," says Information guitarist Zack Wells. "It seems that he just hit his stride as far as the type of bands he was signing and that everything was starting to come together. He has a great opportunity [at Wharton], so I donít blame him for his choice and wish him well." While the Information look for a new label, Wells says he and local promoter Carl Lavin are overseeing the sales of the bandís remaining CD stock.

Seems that CMJ cover was a fluke: Runner and the Thermodynamics are on "indefinite hiatus," according to frontman Marc Pinansky, because of "internal tensions and constant line-up changes." Pinansky says heís got what he hopes to be another Runner album written and will be playing a few solo dates (including this Friday at the Milky Way) while undergoing some "creative refueling." In the meantime, heís put Runnerís album The Dude up for free download at runnerrock.com.

In more constructive developments: Hydra Head has announced a September 13 date for Perfect Pitch Black, the first post-RCA album from Cave In, which compiles nine songs recorded by the band with producer Andrew Schneider over the past three years. I scored a demo copy about five months ago and itís incredible. The songs include "The World Is in Our Way," "Screaming in Your Sleep," and "Tension in the Ranks," some of which have already found their way to the Web; now letís hope Stephen Brodsky and the boys can get their shit in gear for a tour. Meanwhile, Brodskyís side project New Idea Society ó a collaboration with Eulcidís Mike Law ó doesnít seem like so much of a hobby anymore. The group are in Japan for a string of dates, and when they arrive home, theyíll team up with Schneider in Brooklyn for a live-in-the-studio recording, mixing new songs with a few off their debut, You Are Awake or Asleep. Look for an early-fall release.

Youíd have thought this happened a long time ago: on June 13, the Pixies finally got a gold record for 1988ís Surfer Rosa. Itís only their second gold, the first being for 1989ís Doolittle, which was certified in 1995. The Pixies wrapped up a three-week tour at a sparsely filled Agganis Arena last week; the hype is over and the kids do not believe. . . . Our homeboy Clinton Sparks has been holding it down on Eminemís Shade 45 satellite-radio channel; now heís teaming with Slim Shady for a summer mix tape. Look for The Anger Management Tour III / Shade 45 on a street corner near you.

Every year, indie-metal kids pack up their parentsí cars and bolt to the annual New Jersey throwdown known as Hellfest. This summer, the five-stage extravaganza goes down August 19-21 at Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, and though the complete line-up hasnít been announced, New England is already well represented, with the Acacia Strain, Converge, Ramallah, the Red Chord, Hatebreed, Receiving End of Sirens, and Connecticutís With Honor playing alongside Nile, Sick of It All, Terror, recent RCA signees Anti-Flag, Rise Against, and a reunited Youth of Today. Keep updated at hellfest.com. . . . The aforementioned With Honor are hanging with Brian McTernan (Thrice, Hot Water Music, Cave In, Reach the Sky) at his Maryland-based Salad Days Studios and recording This Is Our Revenge, the follow-up to Heart Means Everything (Stillborn); itís set for October 18 on Victory Records. . . . Converge have posted a rare track ó "Wolves at My Door," previously available only on the vinyl of You Fail Me (Deathwish, Inc.) ó at myspace.com/converge. And Converge guitarist Nate Newtonís side project Doomriders have posted an MP3 for the title track of their forthcoming Black Thunder; visit deathwishinc.com or myspace.com/doomriders.

Chris Rucker is the host of New England Product, which airs Sundays from 9 to 10 p.m. on WFNX 101.7 FM.

Issue Date: June 24 - 30, 2005
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