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The Melody Unit

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With their pop stylings amid the Seattle post-grunge scene, the Melody Unit is often regarded as an anomaly within their own city. But the band has held true to their sound while radical changes took place among their lineup. Frontman Kevin Kelly and drummer Mark Salvadalena originally teamed up with three friends as Ursa Minor, securing their first gig with Hoboken, NJ natives Yo La Tengo. Differing priorities soon drew two of the members away, and bassist Tim Kappert was called in to replace them. The four-piece then discovered the name Ursa Minor was in use by a San Francisco act; Kelly suggested "The Melody Union," Kappert, however, heard it as "Unit," and the name stuck. A magazine advertisement led to a new keyboardist, who assisted on 1998's Wax Cylinder EP. But, once again, commitment became a factor, and the Melody Unit was then down to three members: Kelly, Kappert, and Salvadalena. Although rumors spoke of a breakup, they continued playing locally as a trio. Within a short time, vocalist Jessica Folsom and guitarist David Wentworth passed the "seriousness of intent" exam and were admitted to the band. They practiced determinedly for four months until entering the studio for their full-length, Odds Against Tomorrow, in late August of 1999. Regular shows sprang up directly afterward, and keyboardist Peter Lynch joined to accommodate the demands of the heavy schedule. Kelly's 2000 vacation to Hawaii resulted in the Kona Song 7", b/w "Snoqualmie," a song that summarizes the Melody Unit's experience with underappreciation in their hometown, in comparison to fond receptions in cities such as Portland, OR, and New York. Since its release, the Melody Unit had reduced their appearance at live shows in order to write material for Choose Your Own Adventure, their 2001 release. ~ Eric J. Iannelli