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Art punk quartet Pitchblende emerged in March 1991 from the same thriving metropolitan Washington, D.C., independent music scene home to the Dischord/TeenBeat/Simple Machines axis. Singers/guitarists Justin Chearno (a onetime member of Unrest and the Dustdevils) and Treiops Treyfid first met while working at a local bookstore, and made their earliest recordings as a duo, aided by a drum machine; after placing an advertisement in the Washington City Paper, they recruited bassist Scott DeSimon and drummer Patrick Gough, soon making their live debut under the name Comet Anger. As Pitchblende, the quartet recorded a ten-song demo tape that summer, and in early 1992 issued their debut single, "Sum," on the Landspeed label, moving to Jade Tree later that year to release the EP Weed Slam. Their full-length debut, Kill Atom Smasher, followed on Cargo in the spring of 1993, and Pitchblende toured the U.S. relentlessly in the months to follow, releasing their sophomore effort, Au Jus, in 1994. Early the next winter, Chearno relocated to New York City; when DeSimon followed a few months later, the group went on hiatus, although the foursome continued working intermittently on their third LP, GYGAX! (so named in honor of the creator of the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons). Pitchblende officially dissolved following the album's release; Chearno and DeSimon later reunited in Turing Machine.