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The Karl Hendricks Trio

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The Karl Hendricks Trio play fervently confessional indie rock in the vein of Superchunk, Pavement, and Dinosaur Jr. that combines spindly, wailing guitars with lyrics of heartbreak, dissonance, and disgust. Their aggressive approach matched with genuinely big hooks makes the band stand out from mere emo and punk-pop contemporaries. The Pittsburgh, PA, group formed in 1991 with Hendricks on guitar, Tom Hoffman on drums, and Tim Parker on bass. The Karl Hendricks Trio played their first show on New Year's Eve 1991 and recorded their first album a couple of weeks later. Released on LP on Hendricks' own label, Buick Elektra received national recognition and quickly sold out. Quite prolific at the time, the band recorded two more albums worth of material in late 1992 and early 1993, released as the Some Girls Like Cigarettes 10" and the trio's second full-length, Misery and Women. In 1995, Merge Records re-released Some Girls Like Cigarettes on CD. Len Jarabeck soon joined on bass and in 1996 the band put out For a While, It Was Funny, a furious, angst-ridden, drug-sex-depression masterpiece of catchy indie rock. For 1998's Declare Your Weapons, Caulen Kress took over bass duties and Jake Leger replaced Hoffman on drums. Even better and more sardonic than its predecessor, the cover of Declare says it all: a cartoon Hendricks holds a gun to his head amid ambivalent subway riders. From 1998 to 2000, Hendricks' band reformed as a quartet with Matt Jencik on second guitar and Chris Emerson on drums under the name the Karl Hendricks Rock Band. But surprisingly, the group recorded only one single in this incarnation. In 2002, back as a trio with Kress and Leger on drums, the band recorded The Jerks Win Again, released on Merge in July of 2003. The album maintains Hendricks' wry vision amid squalls of crunchy guitar bliss but embraces a more outward-looking world view and a truly expansive sound. ~ Charles Spano

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Pittsburgh, PA

Years Active:

'90s, '00s