I due fondatori del gruppo sono Ethan Miller (chitarra e voce) e Ben Flashman (basso). A loro si aggiungono quasi subito Noel Harmonson (tastiere ed echoplex) e Utrillo Kushner (batteria). Il quartetto pubblica nel 2000 il primo album, l’omonimo Comets on Fire, disponibile in vinile a tiratura limitata. L’LP coniuga noise rock e musica psichedelica. Il successivo album è Field Recordings from the Sun (2002), costituito da 5 brani e pubblicato dalla Ba Da Bing Records. In questo album si inserisce anche Ben Chasny (chitarra), proveniente dai Six Organs of Admittance.
A questo punto il gruppo si dedica ai live. Nel 2003 il gruppo quindi un album registrato dal vivo ed intitolato Bong Voyage, anch’esso a tiratura limitata (800 copie). L’anno dopo il gruppo passa alla Sub Pop Records e pubblica Blue Cathedral. In questo album sono presenti brani più melodici e leggeri.
Nel 2005 collaborano con i Burning Star Core incidendo il mini-CD Collaboration (Yik Yak). Nel 2006 esce Avatar. Successivamente Ethan Miller si dedica poi al progetto Howlin’ Rain, Noel Harmonson invece entra nei Sic Alps, Utrillo Kushner dà vita al progetto Colossal Yes, infine Ben Chasny collabora con diversi altri gruppi e musicisti.
- Ethan Miller – voce, chitarra
- Noel von Harmonson – echoplex, batteria
- Ben Flashman – basso
- Utrillo Kushner – batteria, tastiere
- Ben Chasny – chitarra
Comets on Fire is an American noise rock band from Santa Cruz, California. The band was formed in 1999 by guitarist and vocalist Ethan Miller and longtime friend bassist Ben Flashman, who were seeking to create rhythmically and sonically intense music that paid no attention to categorizations.
The band started in 1999 and released their debut record on Alternative Tentacles (Jello Biafra‘s label). This album shows the influence of the Butthole Surfers, Hawkwind and the MC5. The next album Field Recordings from the Sun for Ba Da Bing label showed more growth on the record with new drummer Utrillo Kushner, as well as saxophones being added to their noise rock jams. Before the next record the band officially added Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance to their lineup in 2003. He had previously performed and recorded with them. With this line-up they got a deal on Sub Pop Records and released their critically acclaimed Blue Cathedral. The record exposed them to a whole new fan base and the record found favor with enough people for Comets on Fire to tour as the opening act for Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and Mudhoney. In 2006, they released their fourth album Avatar which showed the band turning away from their psychedelic noise jams for a more subdued sound that ventures close to classic rock at times.
They are notable for their heavy use of the Echoplex, used primarily on vocals but on other instruments as well. This often renders the lyrics unintelligible; Miller claims to not remember the lyrics after putting an album together.
After completing tours for Avatar through 2008, the band went on an extended hiatus. In the intervening period Ethan Miller began focusing attention on his Howlin’ Rain project, and Noel von Harmonson joined Sic Alps. In 2012, the band members regrouped to record as Six Organs of Admittance for a new album entitled Ascent. In an interview with Uncut, Chasny emphasized that the group had not broken up, but that future plans were still uncertain. In June 2013, the band announced via their website that they would play the final All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, in Camber Sands.
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