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Vocalist/pianist Perry Serpa left his beloved New York City behind for a brief vacation in late 1995, escaping to the Pennsylvanian countryside with drummer Steven Gonzales. The two planned to record some indie pop songs for fun, recording under the fictitious moniker the Sharp Things. What came from those sessions was a good-natured, theatrical rock sound. This was incentive enough for Serpa and Gonzales to make the Sharp Things a reality. Over the next few years, the Sharp Things played gigs in and around the East Village. Jim Santo, guitarist for the New York noise pop outfit Jenifer Convertible, caught one of the band's shows and was immediately impressed.
In summer 1997, Santo joined the Sharp Things. The band was now comprised of Serpa on acoustic guitar, Santo on electric guitar, and Gonzales on drums. Ex-Fluffer guitarist Janet Treadaway and Erica Maeyama, drummer for Knocked Out Loaded, were added to the band by 1999 to help out with bass and keyboards. Numerous friends from the N.Y.C. music community helped out on strings and brass, including Dawn Hui (violin), Aisha Cohen (viola), and Brian McWhorter (trumpet). The Sharp Things headed into the studio in early 2000 to record their debut album, and ten songs were written and produced in less than two days. Here Comes the Sharp Things was self-released in spring 2002; it was picked up by Dive Records and made its official debut in early 2003.
The Sharp Things gigged regularly around New York in support of the album, and enjoyed solid reviews of their rich chamber pop textures. They reentered the studio late that year to record a follow-up, and Foxes and Hounds appeared in May 2005. In addition to Serpa, Santo, and Gonzales, the album featured guitarist Michelle Caputo and bassist Rich Holst. String players included violist Cohen, cellist Claire Freeman, violinists Janis Shen and Andrea Dovalle, and violist/violinist Katie Schnepp. The band teamed up with the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble for their third release, A Moveable Feast, which also featured contributions from Michael Cerveris, the Hold Steady's Franz Nicolay, and Antibalas' Stuart Bogie. The album hit stores in the summer of 2007.