Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #55 Pinback
The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 artist of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
Pinback was in many ways responsible for getting me back into indie rock. I'd had a long foray into experimental electronic, salsa, Tropicália, classical, dance, and jazz . I'd largely ignored rock-oriented 4-bar, guitar/bass/drum configurations; so appealing during my childhood. But there was something more sophisticated and layered about Pinback's pop, while I found other up-and-comers at the time - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs or The Strokes - suffocating throw backs.
Pinback stared back in '99, a side project for founders of Armistead Burwell Smith IV (aka, Zach Smith, then in San Diego-based 3 Mile Pilot) and Robert Crow (of Thingy and Heavy Vegetable). Tom Zinsor (also of 3 Mile Pilot) would join on drums for their first album. They were an instant hit in the independent music community.
Known for the interlaced vocals and complex melodic pop hooks, Pinback delivers highly produced and well-constructed songs. These qualities initially made them a bit of anathema to the no-new wave sensibilities of the early '00s. They are still one of the few rock groups that use vocalization as a more or less ambient instrument, building urgency into their straight forward chord progressions. Hearing Pinback is hearing voices in heaven - not the heaven of the Christian God perhaps, but something more ancient and pagan, a melodic chanting that rises deep in your soul.
Check back tomorrow for the next artist! To see the full list of the Top 100 Artists of the Decade, click here.