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Small 23


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Also known as Small (MusicBrainz).

When North Carolina’s Small formed in the summer of 1991, not only was the quartet unaware that a massive amount of hype was about to descend on the Chapel Hill scene (Superchunk and its Merge label being magnets), it didn’t plan on duking it out, record-bin-wise, with several other similarly named combos: Rhode Island’s Small Factory, Canada’s Smalls and Oregon’s Small. The northwesterners’ threat of legal action prompted a rechristening to Small 23 for a time during the True Zero Hook period (advance tapes of Chin Music also bore the numerically augmented name), but the group reclaimed its original moniker and released its 1994 album as Small.

Small initially consisted of ex-Superchunk drummer Chuck Garrison (also of Pipe), bassist Matt Walter and singer/guitarists Mike Kenlan and Eric Bachmann. Walter financed the band’s debut 45 as well as a split single with Pipe, attracting the attention of Rockville, which issued Cakes. The EP betrays an obvious Dinosaur Jr/Superchunk influence, boasting a pair of solid vocalists and a twin-guitar, rev-it-up style of scruffy, melodic pop-punk — a credible document of an eager young group.

Bachmann left just prior to the EP’s release in order to commit full-time to his other project, Archers of Loaf; he was replaced by Dave Hollinghurst. By the fall of ‘93, the group had released a 45 and True Zero Hook.

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