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Moonlighting from Pinebender

Pinebender live at the Prairie House in Bloomington, IL October 19, 2002

Although I’d prefer news of a follow-up to their outstanding 2006 album Working Nine to Wolf, two members of Pinebender have solo projects coming to fruition, neither of which channel their musical day job’s penchant for slow, epic noise-rock. (Think Dinosaur Jr. 45s played at 33rpm.) Guitarist/vocalist Chris Hansen is moonlighting as Paletazo, with four songs up on his MySpace page and a show on November 10th at Schuba’s in Chicago. Paletazo confirms my suspicion about Pinebender’s songs: Chris Hansen’s songwriting is solid enough to stand up even without the threat of guitar bluster. (See the thoroughly quiet “Peterson Home” from their 2003 album The High Price of Living Too Long with a Single Dream for concrete evidence.) “Nothing Wrong with Love” in particular is worth a few spins. No word of any pending record release.

Meanwhile, guitarist Stephen Howard steps into the frontman role for Quieting Syrup, best described as slowed-down bedroom-pop for the bedridden. Considering that he started out as Pinebender’s drummer and took over the role of baritone guitarist after Matt Clark left for Iowa, this change in roles isn’t surprising. His debut, Songs About a Sick Boy, will be released soon on Lovitt Records. It’s listed on Lovitt’s site, but I don’t think it’s available to preorder yet.

As if his solo debut wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Howard is also now a member of Tight Phantomz, a 70s-hard-rock–informed group fronted by former Lustre King guitarist Mike Lust and supported by former Hurl, Taking Pictures, Milemarker, Thee Speaking Canaries (etc.) drummer Noah Leger. They haven’t released anything since a 2005 EP, but I’ll probably check out their next album if Howard’s on board.

While I’m all for Hansen and Howard spreading their musical wings, I hope this trend doesn’t slow the already glacial Pinebender release schedule beyond the typical three-to-four year period.