Sound Advice: Pinback (Oct. 13)

Indie Rock duo celebrates the 10th anniversary of 'Autumn of the Seraphs' at Woodward Theater.

click to enlarge Sound Advice: Pinback (Oct. 13)
Photo: Courtesy Touch and Go Records / Quarterstick Records

Pinback is one of many Indie Rock entities that include the considerable talents of Zach Smith, better known as Armistead Burwell Smith IV, and Rob Crow, a pair of singing, songwriting multi-instrumentalists from San Diego.

Smith and Crow roomed together but didn't begin to collaborate musically until Smith's departure from his first high-profile band, Three Mile Pilot, over Geffen Records' attempts to alter the band's sound. Smith and Crow then formed Pinback in 1998, naming their new band after a character in John Carpenter's 1974 cult science fiction classic Dark Star.

Over the subsequent decade and a half, Smith and Crow, accompanied by a revolving cast of bandmates including Three Mile Pilot drummer Chris Prescott, released a wealth of Pinback material: five studio albums, a rarities compilation, 10 EPs and eight singles characterized by Smith's note-driven and complex bass style and Crow's Math Rock guitar ministrations. Pinback's Emo-like moodiness and joyously melancholic melodicism earned them a fervent following and ultimately a contract with Touch and Go Records. The label released the band’s acclaimed Summer in Abaddon in 2004, which grazed the bottom of the Billboard 200 but hit the top 10 of the magazine's Heatseekers chart.

After 14 years of collaborating as Pinback, a period that saw both Smith and Crow pursue solo careers and outside band projects, the duo pulled back from the band, releasing their final full length album, 2012's Information Retrieved. Crow released solo sets in 2013 and 2016, the latter as a band dubbed Rob Crow's Gloomy Place, and provided vocals to Scott Heron's Prefuse 73 project on the 2015 track “Quiet One” and on Math Rock outfit Tera Melos' Warpless Run album earlier this year; Smith has remained musically silent over the past five years.

Although Pinback has been inactive since 2012, Smith and Crow never announced a split or hiatus; their previous five-year gap had been equally unofficial. With the March reissue of two early Pinback EPs — 1999's Some Voices and 2003's Offcell — as a single remastered full-length, aptly titled Some Offcell Voices, by their last label, Temporary Residence Limited, the duo has reconvened to hit the road in support of that release. This new and welcomed Pinback circuit also commemorates the 10th anniversary of their biggest selling album, 2007's Autumn of the Seraphs, which hit No. 69 on the Billboard 200 and is being reissued by Touch and Go in a limited edition 180 gram vinyl format. Don't call it a comeback or a reunion; Pinback is and always will be around.


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