The LapseView In iTunes
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Built on the strong partnership of bassist Toko Yasuda and guitarist Chris Leo, the Lapse formed late in 1997. Each of the partners had long histories in the world of independent music, with Toko Yasuda as a one-time member of the international avant-rock outfit Blonde Redhead, and Chris Leo's past with the New Jersey-based Van Pelt. The Lapse's sound can be understood through these histories, steeped in noisy, riff-oriented post-rock and cerebral lyrical eulogizing. Performing as a trio with a constantly rotating roster of drummers, the respective resumés of the Lapse brought them to immediate success in the East Coast indie scene and led to early touring stints with notables such as Guided By Voices and Blonde Redhead. Their debut full-length, Betrayal, on Gern Blandsten, was met with favorable reviews and led to long national touring after its 1998 release. With half-sung, half-spoken songs about everything from the conditions of international politics to sexualized stories of Leo's youth, the chemistry between Yasuda and Leo was the keystone of the band's early life. The Lapse was picked up by indie heavyweight Southern Records in 1999 and, after a series of singles, released their sophomore full-length, Heaven Ain't Happenin', in March of 2000. Heaven Ain't Happenin' continued with the band's previous explorations of noisy guitar-driven songwriting and non-traditional structures but also incorporated some experimentation with electronic samples. Troublesome personal issues between the duo and Yasuda's precarious visa status from Japan caused Yasuda to leave the band just before the official release date of the record, and saw a brief period of Leo touring alone under the name of the Lapse. Yasuda went on to play with former Brainiac frontman John Schmersal, in Enon, and Leo would eventually put together a series of bands sometimes including Gary Keating on bass and former Shudder to Think and Jawbox drummer Adam Wade. Through late 2000 the Lapse toured heavily in the United States and Europe and in early 2001 set to work on recording their third full-length that was originally slated for release on Southern. The Lapse left Southern in the spring of 2001 and after a stint of label shopping found themselves picked up by Matador Records.