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Torche Plays Much Happier Stoner Metal as a Trio

Stonerific pop metal power group Torche has been a purveyor of sludge thicker than BP's since 2005. The foursome's original lineup included members from heavy area acts like Floor, Cavity, and Tyranny of Shaw. But in the interest of not introducing South Florida readers to Torche for the gazillionest time, what follows is a bio reduced to a 140-character tweet: "Sludgy, pop, loosely tuned bass strings. Thunder! Think Melvins, Jawbox, Sabbath. In a word: heavy. D'oh, mad violence! Quartet becomes trio."

The band's new eight-song EP, Songs for Singles, is its first since parting with guitarist Juan Montoya — following Montoya's exhaustively documented punch to lead singer/guitarist Steve Brooks' face. However, the now-trio recently released a split with psych-noise rockers Boris, Chapter Ahead Being Fake (released stateside July 13), which includes the already ubiquitous, ever-doomy single "King Beef" – fingers crossed that it's available at the Respectable Street show on Saturday.

Songs for Singles, due out in September, maintains the band's evolution from record to record, and even from band to band, but is happier. "Like we took Prozac or Red Bull or something," bassist Jonathan Nunez recently told New Times via phone. He had just left the vet after his puppy suffered some tongue-twisting ailment but remained enthused to discuss the new EP, a tour with Coheed and Cambria, and potential new Torche members.

New Times: How is it being a trio so far?

When we became a three-piece, it was a really productive process. We work fairly quickly, we know what we want, and we know how to get it, and we know when it's right. We definitely work faster without Juan. Juan definitely added stuff, and it was great to have that second guitar... [but] now we have our friend [Howard Johnston] touring with us doing his version of what we were going for.

Where did you find Howard?

Me and Rick [Smith, drummer] have known him for years. He was in this experimental math-rock indie band called Pygmy. He was the rock element of that band. The result was always quick rock parts in these long songs but not a rock band. In our band, he finally gets to shred and lay back and play rhythm. He gets to be in the rock band he's always wanted to be in.

I heard that Steve was having trouble writing vocals for Songs for Singles. What do you attribute it to?

It would be two things. A, it's so much busier than our other stuff, so it was like, "Whoa, how do I approach this?" And then B, "I have to be careful when I approach this because I have to play this shit live."

How much gear have you built up after getting robbed on tour in May?

We might have gotten close to half of what was taken. We instantly had to go out and buy a bunch of stuff just to be able to play and continue the tour... There were a lot of people who helped us out, a lot of companies that worked with us. Can't thank all the people that donated enough. It was incredible.

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Erica K. Landau

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