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Album Review

From the dank, claustrophobic, lo-fi sound to the visceral rumble of guitar and drums, Pipe approximates the primal garage rawk of the Seeds, Sonics, and Stooges. Their third full-length is a rocking rollercoaster of pounding drums, and sharp shard-like riffs that drive the music like Jackson Pollock on a bender. Clifton Mann's sinewy guitar swims in reverb and distortion, taking hairpin turns, and laying down crisp hooks over the muscular backbeat of former Superchunk drummer, Chuck Garrison. Clocking in well under a half-hour, the album recalls the New Bomb Turks in its fidelity to the raw, high-octane crunch that provided the early blueprint for punk, but Ron Liberti's vocals are more out-front and discernible, while Mann's accomplished playing is versed in everything from surf and rockabilly to garage and punk. As guttural as a punch to your solar plexus, album highlights of this underrated classic include "Spring Training," with its vocal echo of "Ace of Spades," the chugga-chugga rave "Chula," and an exemplary cover of the Subsonics' anthemic "I Love You, I Kill You."


Formed: North Carolina

Genre: Brazilian

Years Active: '90s

Formed in that music crucible, Chapel Hill, Pipe forged a ragged rock sound that drew on both the raw garage of '70s bands like the Sonics, punk's irreverent attitude and the post-punk/indie rock attack of the '80s underground. In 1992, with a lineup of Ron Liberti (vocals), Mike Kenlan (guitar), Dave Alworth (bass), and former Superchunk drummer Chuck Garrison, the band released the six-song Ball Peen EP (Sonic Bubblegum). But Kenlan, who with Garrison also played in Small (later changed to Small...
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Slowboy, Pipe
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