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Actionslacks



When you think of "Actionslacks," you may think of a variety of well-cut trousers popular among the thriftstore set. Well, you'll have to add a second entry to that mental dictionary entry, because Actionslacks are also fiendishly catchy indie rock band from Berkeley, California. Their sound is big, dense, and dynamic, full of catchy, memorable melodies, hard-driving guitars, and heavy dynamics. Yet, while big angular rock dominates, the band occasionally changes gears, shifting occasionally into a folkier, more acoustic-oriented style and sometimes offering sophisticated, dark string arrangements featuring piano, cello, and violin. What's more, the vocals aren't of the adolescent poetry workshop variety found in so much indie pop/rock; instead they're erudite, entertaining, and occasionally darkly funny.

Frontman Tim Scanlin can take credit for penning those. He sings them in an ever-so-slightly caustic tenor that occasionally takes on a slight faux-British accent. Scanlin also provides most of the guitar work. He founded the band back in 1994 with drummer Marty Kelly and original bassist Mark Wijsen. Soon after, the trio self-released a debut seven-inch which caught the attention of Minneapolis's Skene! Records, which put out the band's first LP, Too Bright, Just Right, Good Night in '96. One Word, on New York-based Arena Rock, followed in '98. The band parted ways with Wijsen shortly thereafter. In 2000, Scanlin and Kelly went into the studio to record a third Actionslacks record with celebrated producer and Burning Airlines member J. Robbins. Bassist Aaron Rubin (formerly of The Mr T Experience) and second guitarist Chuck Lindo helped out on the ensuing album, The Scene's Out of Sight, which was issued by The Self-Starter Foundation in 2000. Ross Murray and Doug Modie have since become the band's permanent bassist and second guitarist. "The Scene's Out of Sight" and "I Hope This Makes It Easier for You" both come from that most recent album. "Tad Loves Kimberly James" does too, actually, but it appears courtesy of Tiny Telephone, where it was recorded.