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Continental was formed in 1998, when multi-instrumentalists Gabriel Coan, Mike Eul, Matt Holt, and Brent Kimble (fans of everyone from De La Soul to the Sea and Cake) decided to integrate their varied influences into an instrumental group. The San Francisco foursome creates music that has often been compared to Tortoise or early Sonic Youth, but with a California feel. Their self-titled debut was recorded in a defunct South Bay chemical factory and mixed and mastered by the bandmembers themselves, delaying its release for nearly a year. The band took a break from recording, touring its show of rock and free jazz jams up and down the West Coast. NPR picked up on Continental's cinematic sound, often using tracks from the first album for the All Things Considered program. Throughout 2002, the band returned to the chemical plant, finished its second album, and brought on Craig Escalante (formerly of Young Corbett) for live shows. They glued together the letterpress-printed cover of Four-Letter Words themselves, and the CD finally saw the light of day in May of 2003. ~ David Jeffries