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Hanalei was originally a solo project in the acoustic guitar plus laptop tradition of the Postal Service, featuring Brian Moss, formerly of the Chicago-based emo band the Ghost (not to be confused with the superior and longer-lived Japanese psychedelia act Ghost, or for that matter with the obscure early-'70s U.K. folk-psych group called the Ghost). The Ghost, which had their own roots in a late-'90s Bay Area pop-punk band called the Wunder Years, released two albums, This Is a Hospital and This Pen Is a Weapon, before disbanding in 2004. Before the Ghost had even broken up, Moss had already recorded the tracks that would become Hanalei's first album, 2004's We Are All Natural Disasters. This was a strictly solo effort, but as the Ghost gave itself up (sorry), Moss chose to at least temporarily reformat Hanalei as a full-strength band. Second guitarist Pete Tsoukas, bassist Pete Croke, and drummer Jason Kyrouac, all veterans of various minor Chicago bands, joined Moss prior to the recording of Hanalei's second album, Parts and Accessories, replacing the debut's sparse sound with a rootsy blend of acoustic guitar, pedal steel, cello, banjo, and violin. However, shortly after the release of Parts and Accessories in 2006, Moss broke up this edition of Hanalei and moved back to his former stomping grounds of Oakland, CA, and revived Hanalei in its original strictly solo incarnation.