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Trans Am


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Washington, D.C. (1990 – present)

Trans Am are loosely associated with the mid-’90s scene centered around Tortoise, Ui, Labradford, Windy & Carl, etc., and the Thrill Jockey, Kranky, UHF and Southern labels, among others. Although a vast distance separates Trans Am’s albums, all of them are concerned with an extreme, somewhat humorous reorientation of the clichés and conventions of rock music, primarily through either technical (exaggerated displays of skill) or instrumental (electronics, effects) deviation.

The group formed in 1990 in Washington, D.C., though they didn’t begin seriously recording until after its members finished college in 1995. The members of the band are: Philip Manley (guitar, bass, keyboard, voice), Nathan Means (bass, keys, voice), and Sebastian Thomson (drums, guitar, bass, keys, voice). Their self-titled debut, on the Chicago-based Thrill Jockey label, was recorded after just a few rehearsals back together, and contained , largely improvised versions of simple rock-oriented figures based loosely on ’70s and ’80s popular and bands such as Boston, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Yes. Produced by Tortoise’s John McEntire at Chicago’s Idful Studios, the album was instantly lauded as an example of “post-rock”, in turn leading to a short live tour as Tortoise’s opening act.

The group returned in the fall of 1996 with a self-titled EP of somewhat experiments (released by Happy Go Lucky) that brought to the fore an affection for electronics previously reserved either for between-time studio distraction or the brief interludes separating the meatier segments of their debut.


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  • Fonteintje

    need to make new shit & come to belgium asap

    9 Mar 1:19pm Reply
  • Bojczuk

    Why didnt I listen to this band before?

    11 Jan 7:12pm Reply
  • rodrigolopes32

    Muito bom.

    25 Nov 2013 Reply
  • sideBe

    fcking drog.

    29 Jul 2013 Reply
  • mrgypsum


    17 Jul 2013 Reply
  • hermanator05

    cocaine cocaine cocaine

    14 Feb 2013 Reply
  • andover

    lol at alec_trevelyan

    8 Feb 2013 Reply
  • sonofawidow

    Like Fucking Champs except better. Also they have the coolest promo shots.

    27 Jul 2012 Reply
  • TheseGlyphs

    Goddamn I love these guys. Red Line > Futureworld > Sex Change > Liberation > Surrender > S/T > Surveillance > Thing > TA

    8 Jun 2012 Reply
  • jcotteri

    get over it

    11 Apr 2012 Reply
  • Alec_Trevelyan

    I'd listen to these guys if they didn't have a track mocking Alec Empire. I can't respect them.

    9 Apr 2012 Reply
  • RussellChap

    Surrender to the Night is a funky delight.

    30 Mar 2012 Reply
  • jcotteri


    9 Feb 2012 Reply
  • toztizokzndz

    you might want to listen to 'a spectrum of infinite scale' by 'man or astroman?' though...

    27 Jan 2012 Reply
  • toztizokzndz

    surrender to the night and the self titled has some!

    27 Jan 2012 Reply
  • Jouhou

    "the campaign" is definitely my favorite song, anyone know any albums that have jams like that? there are a few songs like it on the surveillance. i haven't went through all of the albums yet.

    26 Jan 2012 Reply
  • toztizokzndz

    for me it's like: the surveillance > red line > surrender to the night > futureworld > trans am > liberation > thing > sex change > TA, how about you?

    27 Dec 2011 Reply
  • LiveBootlegs

    Trans Am - Live @ Bottom Of The Hill, San Francisco, USA, 17-09-2000

    23 Dec 2011 Reply
  • iamholgerczukay

    Why did it take me so long to get into these guys. Wow.

    14 Oct 2011 Reply
  • mrgypsum

    i saw them last wednesday in cambridge mass, they were great live, i think when you listen to the albums you are like, yeah ok now let me here this played live, but they are masters at playing their equipment whether it be a guitar, bass or roland.

    2 Oct 2011 Reply
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