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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, December 7

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Album Wed Apr 15 2009

Pontiak: Meet Your Maker

Pontiak are the trio of brothers Van, Jennings, and Lain Carney, who -- after having scattered across the map to pursue various musical careers -- came together in Baltimore a few years ago to form their own band. From there the brothers relocated to a house in the less populated Blue Ridge environs of Virginia, set up their own rehearsal and recording space, and got to work.

For the most part, the brothers' third album Maker is as weighty and daunting as its title implies. The story has it that guitarist Van blew out two amps (Mogwai style) during the album's recording sessions, which wouldn't be surprising given the sound of the thing. At first listen, much of Maker wafts along on heavy boulder-rolling buzzriffs and sludgey rhythms -- much of it amounting to a tub of stoned kozmic blues so thick you could stand a rowboat oar in it.

While the tunes sometimes churn and sometimes tangle, songs like "Wax Worship" and "Honey" lumber along like a truck loaded down with nitroglycerine making its way across a rickety bridge. As far as sheer sonic heft goes, the Pontiak siblings sound like they've ingested the pre-req amount of Sabbath and Hawkwind over the years. But the Carneys have an astute sense for balancing their songs with intriguing contrasts -- the sorts that reward deeper listening and repeat visits. They sneak in a bit of quasi-folksy baroqueness at times, or toy with having some fun by hinting at some vintage red-dirt boogie at other points. There's even a couple of brief math-y bits tucked between songs that go a long way toward washing the palette down. Add to all of that the 13-plus minute, pull-out-all-the-stops, multipart juggernaut of the album's title track. Despite all the turns and polarities, in the end everything coheresand Maker leaves a distinct impression.

Maker is now out via Thrill Jockey label. Pontiak will be playing at the Empty Bottle on Monday, May 11. Somewhat appropriately, Kill Rocks Stars recording artist Thrones (a.k.a. Joe Preston of Melvins, Sunn O))), Earth, and High on Fire affiliation) headline for the evening. Pontiak are scheduled to support, and Helen Money opens. This being one of the Bottle's Monday night shows, admission is free and it gets underway at 9:30 PM. 1035 N. Western.

[video]: Pontiak - "Laywayed"
[mp3]: Pontiak - "Honey"

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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