North Carolinian Eric Bachmann's debut solo album may have been called Short Careers, but his musical career has been anything but. Beginning with his early-'90s indie rock band Archers of Loaf, the one-time Appalachian State University saxophone major has crafted a relentlessly independent and uncompromising rock & roll journey. With Icky Mettle in 1994, Bachmann's group unleashed a collection of white noise, Pavement-style guitar pop, and loopy lyrics that deftly matched the crunch of Chapel Hill's other underground giants, Superchunk. In 1995, Bachmann began the instrumental side project Barry Black with producer Caleb Southern and released two LPs. The Archers released three more studio albums before disbanding in 1998, capping things off with a posthumous live record called Seconds Before the Accident.
Crooked Fingers, Bachmann's more stripped-down follow-up project, debuted in 2000 with a self-titled full length that introduced a dark-hued mix of folk, indie, and Americana. Bring on the Snakes, Crooked Fingers' slightly more optimistic sophomore output, followed a year later. In 2002, Bachmann released Short Careers, his first set of recordings under his own name. The entirely instrumental set marked his first foray into film scoring, providing the soundtrack to the independent film Ball of Wax, the story of an evil baseball player mad with greed. In the summer of 2006, Bachmann released his second proper solo album, the sparse and powerful To the Races. Throughout the rest of that decade, Crooked Fingers would serve as his primary creative vehicle, culminating with 2011's Breaks in the Armor. A talented multi-instrumentalist, Bachmann joined fellow songwriter Neko Case's touring band in 2013 while continuing to write new material for himself. In early 2016, he released his third solo effort, a self-titled LP on Merge Records, accompanied by the announcement that he would retire the Crooked Fingers project and shift his focus to a proper solo career. ~ Charles Spano & Timothy Monger