Small Factory

While never the most popular, most acclaimed, or most innovative act on the underground pop scene, in their own way, Small Factory crystallized and articulated the effervescent brilliance of American indie rock like no other band of their era. With their artfully tuneless vocals, primitive but indelible melodies, and singular combination of innocence and abandon, the group captured the sound and spirit of their moment to perfection. Small Factory formed in Providence, RI, in 1991, teaming singer/bassist Alex Kemp, singer/guitarist Dave Auchenbach, and singer/drummer Phoebe Summersquash. After earning a strong local following, the group made an enormous splash at the now-legendary Lotsa-Pop-Losers festival in Washington, D.C., soon after making their recorded debut, "The Giant Merry-Go-Round," alongside Honeybunch and the Scottish Bachelor Pad on a flexi-disc included with the fanzine The Milky Way. After closing out 1991 with their first proper single, the Collision Time label release "Suggestions," the following spring Small Factory moved to Slumberland to issue the follow-up, "What to Want." A series of British dates in support of Heavenly resulted in a more extended American tour opening for Fudge and the Dambuilders. New material, the Pop Narcotic single "So What About Love," wasn't released until the summer of 1993, trailed soon after by the epic "If You Hurt Me," the indisputable highlight of the Simple Machines label's Working Holiday singles series. Another label move, this time to Spin Art, preceded the fall release of Small Factory's debut LP, I Do Not Love You; for the follow-up, 1994's sublime For If You Cannot Fly, the trio jumped to Virgin subsidiary Vernon Yard. Small Factory disbanded in the fall of 1995, with Kemp and Summersquash reuniting in the inferior Godrays and Auchenbach resurfacing in Flora Street; the singles compilation The Industrial Evolution was issued by Pop Narcotic in 1996. ~ Jason Ankeny

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