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Jennifer Gentle

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Though most young Italian underground rock bands circa 2000 expressed an open sonic infatuation (like many other groups of their age elsewhere) with Anglo-American post-rock -- often sleepily so -- Jennifer Gentle showed that there was more going on than playing Slint to death. Formed in 1999 in Padua, Jennifer Gentle originally formed as a duo, with 19-year-old Marco Fasolo as vocalist/guitarist and Alessio Gastaldello on drums. The band later expanded to a four-piece with multi-instrumentalist Isacco Maretto and bassist Nicola. With an ear for playful psych humor as well as more epic zoned and stoned space rock, the band won initial attention thanks to a variety of live appearances, notably as the opening act for Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley's side project, Two Dollar Guitar. The band's recording debut came courtesy of a track on 2000's Homesleep Home compilation, alongside such fellow travelers as Quickspace and the Notwist. 2001 brought the group's first full album, I Am You Are, winning the group further attention at home and, increasingly, overseas. A second album, Funny Creatures Lane, and more accolades followed in 2002, as did Wrong Cage, a collaboration with Makoto Kawabata of Acid Mothers Temple. The following year a double CD of Jennifer Gentle's first two albums, Ectoplasmic Garden Party, was released by the Australian label Lexicon Devil. The year 2004 saw the band sign with the U.S. label Sub Pop, who released their third full-length, Valende, in 2005. After an extensive international tour in 2006, they put out two experimental releases, a limited-edition Sacramento Sessions LP and A New Astronomy on the Italian label A Silent Pace. After the departure of drummer Alessio Gastaldello, Fasolo left to record The Midnight Room alone in his Ectoplasmic Studio. This album marked a slight departure from the band's previous sound into more psychedelic and personal territory. ~ Ned Raggett

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