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Conceived in San Francisco in 1998, Iran began as the four-track bedroom-recording project of singer and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Aites. Playing most of the instruments himself and recruiting friends as needed, Aites released Iran's self-titled debut through Andee Connors' (A Minor Forest, J Church, Ticwar) Tumult label in 2000. The album showcased Aites' talent for balancing pop melodies with noise and tape hiss. The result was a sound like a more approachable Dead C, or like a throwback to the lo-fi early-'90s sound of Pavement, Smog, and Sebadoh. Aites relocated to New York City and released the more straightforward album Moon Boys on Tumult in early 2003, after which point Andee Connors stepped in to play drums.