A Taste for Bitters is Chokebore's third studio album, released on October 2nd, 1996, by Amphetamine Reptile Records in LP and CD format. It was recorded by Peter Deimel at Black Box studio in Noyant-la-Gravoyère (France) during the spring of 1996, when Chokebore was touring in Europe.

A Taste for Bitters is the first Chokebore album recorded with drummer Christian Omar Madrigal Izzo, who had been touring with the band since 1995.

The record's artwork was designed by Chokebore, Klaus Westermann, and Dirk Holtkoetter, with photos by Nicoletta Munroe and Klaus Westermann.

A Taste for Bitters spawned two singles, It Could Ruin Your Day and Days of Nothing, and music videos for the songs A Taste for Bitters and It Could Ruin Your Day.

The CD edition includes an extra track titled The Rest of Your Evening, a twenty-minute-long recording of a woman translating the album's lyrics into Swedish over the phone.

A Taste for Bitters was reissued twice on CD, first in 1998 by Boomba Rec to accompany the European release of Black Black, then in September 2002 by Pale Blue. After being out of print for several years, it was finally remastered and reissued on vinyl in December 2020 by Vicious Circle in France (classic black or limited pressing of 600 on colored splatter vinyl) and Amphetamine Reptile Records in the USA (pressing of 200 on colored splatter vinyl).

Releases

Oct 1996: LP/CD – Amphetamine Reptile [AmRep 054] – USA
Oct 1996: LP/CD – Amphetamine Reptile [ARR 77/020] – Europe
1998: CD – Boomba Rec [BOOMBA 007-2] – Europe
Sep 2002: CD – Pale Blue [pale blue 005] – Europe
Dec 2020: LP – Vicious Circle/Amphetamine Reptile [REVERB159] – Europe/USA

Tracklist

  1. Pacific Sleep Patterns
  2. Popular Modern Themes
  3. Ghosts, and the Swing of Things
  4. One Easy Pieces
  5. Days of Nothing
  6. It Could Ruin Your Day
  7. A Taste for Bitters
  8. Narrow
  9. Sleep With Me
  10. City Rings
  11. Smaller Steps
  12. Your Let Down
  13. The Rest of Your Evening (CD only)

Artwork

Credits

produced by: Chokebore and Peter Deimel
engineered by: Peter Deimel
recorded at: Black Box Studio, France in the spring of 1996
mastered somewhere in Paris
design/artwork: Chokebore, Klaus Westermann/Dirk Holtkoetter
photos: Nicoletta Munroe (documentation of a performance by microinternational), Klaus Westermann (sky/band)
thank you: AXM

all songs written and performed by Chokebore © 1996 Chokeboresound
words by Troy

Personnel

  • a frank g - bass
  • troy bruno von balthazar - guitar/vocals
  • jonathan - guitar
  • christian omar madrigal izzo - drums

Review

There is nothing usual about Chokebore. From the name to their abstract lyrics, Chokebore is a one-of-a-kind band. They play with the kind of conviction that can only be found in pure art. Nobody sounds like them and they sound like nobody. They are a tribute to every artist that ever took a chance with their work.

A Taste for Bitters is their third full-length album. It was recorded in France while they were on tour in Europe. The great Amphetamine Reptile Records who have a roster of bands that aren't afraid to tread new water and push the limits of "rock" music released it in 1996 in the US.

This is a beautifully recorded album that captures the band's heavy to delicate dynamics. This element is obvious in the first song Pacific Sleep Patterns as the deliberate raps on the snare introduce the calculated and complex music. Troy Bruno von Balthazar's natural sense of melody is apparent as he weaves his words around strange chord changes and sparse movements. One of Chokebore's strengths (as if they lack any) is Balthazar's wonderful lyrics. On Popular Modern Themes he croons it's a thousand yards of tongues, a thousand yards of cheeks in every word I've said. Maybe a hint to not read too far into the hauntingly lonesome words.

Jonathan Kroll's delicate guitar line in Ghosts, and the Swing of Things creeps lightly through the vocal melody like a sleepwalker in an empty house. A true testament to the old adage, "less is more." On Days of Nothing we hear the band totally stripped down to just an acoustic guitar and vocals and sounds as if it was written as a soundtrack to some great lo-fi tragedy.

Songs A Taste for Bitters, Narrow, and Sleep with Me continue to showcase Chokebore's great musicianship. A Frank G and Christian Omar Madrigal Izzo are an incredible rhythm section. It is such a pleasure to hear the space that each person gives to everyone else on these songs.

The last words on the album are Isn't that right, you're let down. Well, I'm not sure what he's referring to, but it's surely not this record. A Taste for Bitters is an incredible piece of work. It documents the band at a time when they were touring heavily and playing together as a flawless unit. The words are confident and mature. The guitars are sensitive at times and raucous at others. The Drums and Bass rumble in time and keep the foundation strong. Chokebore is a great band and this is an essential album for anybody who believes in ART.

Noel P
Indie Rock Reviews
July 12th, 2007

Lyrics

A Taste for Bitters lyrics

Buy A Taste for Bitters online