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Singer/guitarist Matt Easton has been compared to Neil Finn and Chris Isaak, but in the early '90s, Easton just wanted his music to be heard, a desire that propelled Easton's band the Jenny Thing onto TV's Star Search. Easton formed the Jenny Thing at U.C. Berkeley, CA, in 1991 with Shyam Rao (guitar), Ehren Becker (bass), and Mike Phillips (drums).
Born in Oakland, CA, Easton played piano as a child, but with the Jenny Thing, he was able to craft a lovelorn vocal style that gained assurance and emotional depth with every recording; he was also taught how to play guitar by Rao. A fan of '80s new wave acts like the Cure, the Smiths, and the Police, Easton ignored the trend towards macho rage on the Jenny Thing's 1993 debut album, Me; released on Kendall Swim School Records, Me offered glimpses of the introspective songwriting and melancholic crooning that Easton would further explore as a solo musician. Easton released two more albums with the Jenny Thing before splitting up. In 2000, Easton recorded the five-track Love Ambition Demo. Releasing it himself through the Internet, Love Ambition Demo jettisoned the Cure and New Order influences that stoked the Jenny Thing's albums, opting instead for a somber, dreamy sound reminiscent of the Red House Painters.