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Modey Lemon

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Inspired by the proto-punk Stooges and the post-garage Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and informed by the late '60s and '70s rock so prevalent in their middle-American hometowns, Modey Lemon was the most successful of the new wave of Pittsburgh bands born in the years following the mid-'90s peak of the indie and math rock scenes. Formed in the city's Oakland neighborhood in the summer of 1999 by Philander Boyd (guitar and vocals) and Paul Quattrone (drums), Modey Lemon was originally a side project to the similar three-piece Dean Swagger. The duo cut its chops on summer evenings in Pittsburgh's Strip District, playing largely improvised blues in front of a closed-for-the-night fruit stand. Over the course of the following year, the increasingly tight Modey Lemon gained priority from Boyd and Quattrone and honed its sound, emphasizing a rolling, sped-up Keith Moon-style approach to the drums; muddy, rollicking guitar; and a maniacal vocal delivery by Boyd, supplemented in places by bursts of Moog and harmonica. The House on the Hill CD-R and the "You Bug Me" single, issued in the summer of 2000 and spring of 2001 respectively, consolidated Modey Lemon's local gains; and with the release of its self-titled debut for Anti-Flag's A-F Records in February 2002, the group began to gain a national audience.The Modey buzz heightened a year later with the band's signing to Birdman Records and the release of the likeably scuzzy Thunder & Lightning. Things continued to look up for Modey Lemon. In spring 2005 Dinosaur Jr tapped the duo to open the European leg of their reunion tour. Then Curious City was issued (again through Birdman) to critical acclaim and a US tour. ~ Steve May

Top Songs


1999 in Pittsburgh, PA

Years Active:

'90s, '00s