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Combining jagged new wave and no wave-inspired beats, guitars, and keyboards with downright poppy melodies and a wry outlook, the Intelligence is the brainchild of Lars Finberg. While living in Seattle, he played in some of that city's noisiest, weirdest bands, including the A Frames, Unnatural Helpers, and the Dipers. The Intelligence began in 1999, shortly after Finberg, Min Yee, and Erin Sullivan formed the A Frames (who were called Bend Sinister at the time). Finberg recorded the Intelligence's earliest work in his bedroom, playing his five-year-old son's drum kit and slathering everything in reverb and distortion to get a distinctive lo-fi sound.
The Intelligence and the A Frames issued singles on Dragnet Records, the label Finberg, Yee, and Sullivan formed to release their own music. However, the Intelligence's debut album, Boredom and Terror, was released by Omnibus early in 2004, and was reissued by Narnack later that year. The Intelligence moved to In the Red for the following year's Icky Baby, which introduced drummer Matthew Ford, bassist Calvin Lee Reeder, and guitarist Nicholas Brawley. In 2006, Finberg left the A Frames to concentrate on the Intelligence's music; that year, he inaugurated In the Red's limited-edition 12" series with a four-track release, appropriately named 12. For 2007's Deuteronomy, Finberg collaborated with Mike McHugh at his Distillery studio, marking the first time the Intelligence recorded outside of Finberg's bedroom.
Released in 2009, Fake Surfers stripped away some of the band's noise in favor of nods to '60s pop, and featured collaborations with the Lamps' Monty Buckles, Wounded Lion's Brad Eberhard, and Christmas Island's Brian Carver. That year, the Intelligence also issued the much louder Crepuscule with Pacman on the French label Born Bad. For the following year's Males, Finberg recruited his touring band to record with him in the studio, resulting in one of the Intelligence's most detailed albums. After Finberg's stints playing with Wounded Lion and Thee Oh Sees and a move to Los Angeles in 2011, the Intelligence returned in 2012 with the more cleanly produced but just as quirky rock of Everybody's Got It Easy But Me. Released in 2015, Vintage Future featured cameos by Eberhard, Thee Oh Sees' Petey Dammit (as well as former member Brigid Dawson), and Sic Alps' Mike Donovan.