Pinebender is a rock band from Chicago, Illinois. In autumn of 1997, Matt Clark, Chris Hansen, and Stephen Howard got together to manufacture a series of songs that Hansen had written. Cast in a second-floor bedroom at Stephen's parents' Wilmette, Illinois, home, the music revolved around crawling tempos and loud, soaring guitars.
After relocating the gear to a proper rehearsal spot within city limits, the band set its sights on recording. They booked studio time at Electrical Audio Recording in February 1998. The songs recorded during that session, engineered by Greg Norman, would become the Too Good To Be True EP, an apt title for the long-shelved effort recorded for a fleeing phantom of a record label. The band's first show was played in a backroom bar of a taqueria on Milwaukee Avenue on April Fool's Day. An important lesson was learned that night: earplugs must be recommended to audiences. They played many more shows at local venues such as the Empty Bottle and the now-closed-and-much-missed Lounge Ax.
In April 1999, the band checked back into Electrical Audio for five days to record their debut full-length, Things Are About To Get Weird. Steve Albini engineered the ten tracks that range from epic, psychedelic slow-burners to distorted pop songs. On the last day of the session, the phantom label floated up into the ether never to be heard from again. Borrowing money from family, the band paid for the session and began looking for a new home. They would find that home at Ohio Gold Records, a small indie label in Chicago.
In April 2000, Things Are About To Get Weird was released to much critical acclaim. Its twelve-and-a-half minute opening dirge of distorted bliss aggressively implanted itself into the temporal lobes of listeners. Andy Mueller's photography and design provide the perfect graphic representation of the record's mood.
Two Aprils later, Ohio Gold released the "Too Good To Be True" EP. The anachronous release of the five-song EP allows the listener to peer into the early stages of the music and the themes that would be built upon over time. The limited first pressing of the EP features Andy Mueller's award-winning "draw your own cover" concept, complete with a Pinebender golf pencil in the spine of the jewel case.
Matt Clark left the band in the summer of 2002 to pursue the grandeur of the heartland and academics in Iowa City, Iowa. Stephen moved out from behind the drum kit to take over the duties on the baritone guitar. Dennis Stacer was brought in to fill the tranquilized drummer vacancy.
In January 2003, Pinebender moved on to Lovitt Records in Arlington, Virginia. Pinebender's first release on Lovitt came out in the summer of 2003. The full-length entitled The High Price of Living Too Long With A Single Dream is eight tracks of hook-filled amplifier worship and strong-armed drumming at about fifty-eight beats per minute.
In 2006, the band went back to Electrical Audio and recorded Working Nine To Wolf. Working Nine To Wolf finds Pinebender at its most aggressive. Still, the band adheres to the modus operandi that makes it special. Playing long melodic compositions very slowly and very loudly is what Pinebender does. They do it well.
Pinebender have toured with such renowned acts as Shellac, Death Cab For Cutie, Yo La Tengo, And You Will Know Us By Trail Of Dead, Jets To Brazil, J. Mascis, Cinerama, Silkworm, Grandaddy, Denali, Engine Down, Joan of Arc, Eleventh Dream Day, Poster Children, and Pedro The Lion.
Keep your eyes peeled for their arrival to your town. Don't forget your earplugs.