A 2-song lo-fi indie-rock single from an inept 3-piece playing small amps and drums.
[release date: May 1995]
Just as houses like 16:16 haunted the music, the asbestos shingled hovel at 295 Beacon street in Somerville, Massachusetts (or as some of us lovingly called ‘Slummerville’), housed the lo-fi alchemy of B3ND3R. It was 1995 and Stephen Bender (bass), Andrew Nimmo (drums) and myself (guitar and voice), lived upstairs while Jin Suk inhabited the downstairs lair where smoke and bossa-nova would drift up through the house late at night (much more on his influence later)…
The mid-90’s was the moment before the sea change: when the polarities between the analog and digital worlds would begin to cross over and cancel each other out… Where the concept of lo-fi wouldn’t be something of necessity but of choice – just another sonic palette.
In fact, everyone was dumping their old analog recording gear like extra baggage from a sinking ship. We had acquired an old 8-track reel to reel (with only 6 tracks working) but we could just as easily have jumped aboard the shiny vessel of the digital studio. The intention was intentional – to start from scratch in order to understand something primordial about rock and pop when the 2 were still happily married instead of financially warring divorcees. Incredibly enough, Stephen had just started playing bass just months before and Nimmo had sawed his drum kit (some parts literally) in half. We were all beginners in a way and this helped create a shared live ensemble sound.
For me, I foresaw my future as a forever-amateur laptop recording artist and this was my last hurrah to distill my racks of gear into just a guitar, cable, and tube amp. The sound of B3ND3R was supposed to reach into ambient space not through delay and reverb but through memory: melodies that would continue to echo in your mind, vintage silver-tones that recalled the history of guitar distortion, and words that would tap some subconscious adolescent core from one’s forgotten past.
We would end up playing just one awkward show at a drag bar opening for Purple Ivy Shadows with which I had played bass (I mean we were awkward, the drag queens and PIS were awesome). But to this day, it was our practices that helped me personally realize that no matter what kind of analog or digital medium is present, music is something that is still performed live, a fleeting moment that may or may not be captured in space and time.
Stephen Bender: fretless bass, backing vocals
Andrew Nimmo: drums
jh0st: guitar, vocals