Founded: 1998

Headquarters: West Coast, U.S.A.

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Indie-pop is a genre somewhat misunderstood. On the surface, the DIY style is lighthearted and angst-free; two characteristics usually coupled with simplicity. From twee to chamber, every facet of indie-pop is of free spirit, but as any fan will tell you, the music is far from simple. Pinback, a rotating collective of west coast instrumentalists grounded by singer/songwriter/mult-instrumentalist Rob Crow (Thingy, Heavy Vegetable, The Ladies) and Armistead Burwell Smith IV (3 Mile Pilot), embodies the pairing of melody and angular complexity maybe better than anyone else in indie-pop today. The duo teamed up together in early 1998 after their other projects had either stalled or gone on hiatus. After breakout performance at North by Northwest and an independent label bidding war, Pinback finally released their eponymous debut on Ace Fu Records in 1999. An immediate critical success, Crow and Smith would bring their evolving pop music to new heights over the next five years. Three labels, two full length albums, and one EP later, Pinback released Summer in Abaddon on major-indie-label Tough & Go in the fall of 2004. With Abaddon the band found and formulized their sound, straight-to-the-point, angular and canonic pop that builds in layers, vocally and instrumentally. Crow’s songwriting is earnest and proven, though due to his extremely melodic voice and Pinback’s penchant for circular song structures, the vocals become more of an instrument and the lyrics are sometimes lost in the mix. And though they are part of a somewhat redundant classification, Pinback does an amazing job in finding their sound while still remaining significantly a part of the genre. Thanks to artists like Crow and Smith, indie-pop’s true identity as a thought provoking, musically challenging genre comes to the surface.





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