Song of the Day - 4/3/06

In alternative rock, as in any other genre, it's hard to stand out from a crowded field. When the Spinanes emerged in the early '90s, they got a couple legs up on the competition to be different. Taking the power trio format one stage further, they created a full-bodied rock sound with just two members, guitarist/singer Rebecca Gates and drummer Scott Plouf. They also were one of the first Sub Pop bands that did not subscribe to a grungy metallic sound, although they rocked pretty hard.

Beyond these striking characteristics, however, the Spinanes' music isn't far off the beaten path of standard college-radio alternative fare, with its droning guitar textures, occasional harmonies, and measured vocals that avoid both slickness and extreme emotion. They're wise enough to realize the limits of their format, and their second album, Strand (1996), expands their instrumental, production, and songwriting ranges in interesting ways. When Plouf exited the duo after the LP's release, Gates relocated from Seattle to Chicago, where she continued the Spinanes as a solo project, resurfacing in 1998 with the excellent Arches and Aisles. The Imp Years, a much-needed collection of early Spinanes singles, followed in mid-2000.

The Spinanes - "For No One Else"

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