Chalk
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Chalk

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Black Box Broken - AMG Reveiw"

AMG REVIEW: It's hard to find a starting point when describing Chalk, mainly because you can never figure out precisely where the band found its own starting point. When artists amalgamate, there's usually a frame of reference, an underlying or overwhelming sound or ethos or punctuation mark that allows the listener to have a decent idea as to what influences jump-started the band's members to do what they do, and you just can't find anything to latch onto as the origins of this species. So, start at the end and work backwards: The end result of the sophomore disc sees the Cincinnati troupe resembling a postmodern day Chrome, with the way the trio perfectly mixes man and machine, brains and brawn, dance and thrash. Some moments sound like the Pixies gone existentially electronic, whether the band is aping the quirky side of the influential band, such as on the Floyd-ian "Bind," or more straightforward angular post-punk, best heard on the infectious, bass-heavy "Crybaby King." But that's just part of Chalk's sound through a total of 14 songs that all manage to sound quite different from each other, while still pretty obviously seeming to be from the same band. "Eyelid" is Sonic Youth noise smashing into gothic moodiness, "I Saw It Coming" is Devo on steroids, and "Panopticon" is cheesy '80s new wave synthesizers gone simultaneously glitter and prog rock. Which leads one to the (probable) initial influences of the group: Black Box Broken can best be summed up as prog rock geekiness made by and for indie rock geeks, but lacking the pretension and inconsistency of Radiohead — a statement so good, one wonders how it's stayed such a secret. — Brian O'Neill - All Music Guide


"Black Box Broken - Splendid Ezine Review"

The list of bands who owe an obvious debt to Radiohead seems to grow longer every day, as more and more bands are fronted by sensitive types with pleasant tenor voices and quietly intense guitars. Far rarer is a band like Chalk, whose resemblance to Radiohead begins with "Fitter Happier" from OK Computer and goes on from there. The song in question is "Bind", in which the group takes a disembodied computer voice and turns it into an oddly catchy rock song, adding a few layers of ambient noise, vocals and guitars. Still, "Bind" far from encapsulates the group's overall sound; for instance, "Telly Eats Heston", with its jagged guitars and crashing drums, sounds like the Pixies in their prime.
To be fair, Chalk is more than merely the sum of its influences. "Silver" sounds like the score from a horror film for robots, while "Hacker" would be the perfect theme for a post-apocalyptic army preparing for war. Everything comes together, though, on "Crybaby King", as the pulsing bass and electronic squiggles give way to the chorus' crashing guitars. It Chalk can maintain this standard, it's entirely conceivable that electro-rock bands everywhere will soon be aping them.

-- Matthew Pollesel - Splendid


"Black Box Broken - Ink 19 Review"

The industrial seepage prevalent throughout Ohio -- and I'm talking real rustbelt industry here, not posturing dance genre -- must be responsible for the head-spinning amount of musical mutation that comes from the state. Devo, Brainiac, Pufftube, Big Soap and the Deal sisters are just some of the acts that have managed to twist things around in an unexpected, half-machine/half-rockbeast direction. Chalk's aggressive sound, equally at home with the above names as well as with some of the tasty Chicago noise that spawned acts like the Jesus Lizard, is a masterful blend of pounding drums, staccato guitar, domineering analog synths and low-key vocals. Starting with "Son Of Mothra," a purely atonal set of boops that will have you scrambling looking for the malfunction, Black Box Decoder is a non-stop riff ride, churning dark waters to reveal an iridescent oil slick on the surface. "I Saw it Coming" is something you won't see coming, a full-throttle blend of crazed sound that hops from note to note with the grace of a runaway locomotive. Put this in your smokestack and incinerate the place.

--Kurt Channing - Ink 19


"Nothing Left To Do But Die - Splendid Ezine Review"

It ain't over until the last 90s new wave revival band pushes up the proverbial daisies, and from the sound of Chalk's lively broadcast of rumbling bass lines and irresistible keyboards, there's plenty of life left for the latest revival invasion! The poppier Chalk numbers are reminiscent of K Records' Satisfact, with punk underpinnings and enticingly robotic, slightly nerdy-sounding vocals. The band also delves into experimentalism, wearing an Add N to X influence on its sleeve with tunes that quietly wallow in pools of blips and bleeps, then abruptly shock you like a jarring lightning strike. It's a good mix of melody and compositional terror that makes Nothing Left To Do But Die worth living for! -- am - Splendid


Discography

Nothing Left To Do but Die - LP (1999)
Black Box Broken - LP (2002)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Chalk is a dance-punk band formed in Cincinnati, OH in 1997. They draw comparisons to The Faint, The Liars and Brainiac.

Chalk is known for its live shows built on high-energy performances and infectious songs; you will shake that ass or else. They have shared the stage with such acts as U S Maple, The Makers, The Bangs, Buffalo Daughter, Dismemberment Plan, Trans Am and Scene Creamers.

The band's two previous releases, Nothing Left To Do But Die (1999) and Black Box Broken (2002), have received praise in the press and created a loyal following.

Of Black Box Broken, Brian O’Neill of All Music Guide writes “…the trio perfectly mixes man and machine, brains and brawn, dance and thrash …but lacking the pretension and inconsistency of Radiohead – a statement so good, one wonders how it’s stayed such a secret.” February 2002

Chalk is currently shopping a new set of songs to labels.