Genres: Rock / Indie / Emo / Punk Rock / Folk
Related artists: Passenger Action and Team Building.
Years Active: 1994-2007, 2012-present?
Song: With Every Word (demo version)
Album: Across The Water - Split cd
For fans of: Belvedere, NOFX, Protest the Hero and Propagandhi.
My first "real" girlfriend (now ex) has but one redeeming quality - she introduced me to CHOKE. That's it. That's not even "redeeming", it's just a thing that she did once. Also, she was too lazy to read Twelfth Night, so she downloaded an unofficial synopsis which she used to write a report. Unfortunately for her, the synopsis listed the story as having two witches instead of three, and that was just the first of many mistakes that cropped up in that steaming pile of cow dung. But, I digress.
So, I received my one and only high school detention and needed a way to kill thirty minutes. I had recently listened to 'Needless to Say' a few times and it was starting to grow on me. The other album that I had picked up was 'Foreward' and it seemed really disjointed and awkward, but I was determined to give it a proper chance - as I had nothing else to do.
What happened next immediately changed my life (not in some overly dramatic way), influenced the next few years of my own personal musical direction, and, come to think of it, continues to do so today.
In general and for their time period, CHOKE played innovative and extremely technical punk music. Like, really fucking technical. Using a description with both "technical" and "punk" makes it pretty close to being an oxymoron, but it's accurate. The drums are fast and the fills are really tight. The bass rarely copies the guitars, so it is also very unique and definitely a cornerstone of the band. The guitars are a flurry of palm-muted breakdowns and off-time, awkward-yet catchy licks that sound nothing like everything that preceded them. The instrumental section of this band was ground-breaking during the time, and I can say with 100% certainty that CHOKE had a profound impact on Luke, the guitar player in Protest the Hero.
Last, and perhaps the most defining characteristic of CHOKE - the vocals. This is where the love/hate divide usually takes place. I totally understand both sides - as I remember saying, "This guy is way too whiny and high-pitched." He is whiny-sounding. He is high-pitched. He's also awesome, but you may need time to let him grow on you - like moss! At first you're like, "What the shit is moss doing here?!?!?" but after a while you realize that moss is actually quite nice to touch and you understand that it belongs as an essential part of the entire planet. A little much with the moss? Screw you. You're not the moss of me.
CHOKE had 3 phases.
1st - Poppy skate punk.
2nd - Very technical and intense punk/metal/hardcore hybrid.
3rd - A little less technical in style, includes more skate punk, melodies and simpler song structures.
I would recommend starting off with the band's 2 most consistent albums - 'Foreward' and 'There's A Story To This Moral' because they accurately represent CHOKE's sound, which can be best described as, "Fucking sweet".
CHOKE reunited in 2013 for a tour, and after more than 5 years apart and they blew me away with my favourite song, "Numb Phase", which includes the riff which CHOKE is (or at least, should be) known for. Check it at 00:31-00:59 seconds:
1995 - Lotion cd
1996 - Give'er cd
1997 - Needless to Say cd
1999 - Foreward cd
2001 - Across the Water - Split w/Adhesive/Layaway Plan/Astream cd (download here)
2002 - There's A Story to this Moral cd
2005 - Slow Fade (or) : How I Learned to Question Infinity cd
youtube (((((official music video))))) links
CHOKE - "Every Word" (from 'There's a Story to this Moral')
CHOKE - "Breathing Won't Come Easy" (from 'Calculating Infinity')
CHOKE - 3 songs from the 'Across the Water' cd compilation (download here)