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One of the brainiest and most prolific NYC bands of the '00s began as a duo and has done time as a four-piece. But at heart they're a power trio, given to three-CD sets and conceptual trilogies, to freak-folk and slow metal and Krautrock and dub reggae, to plunking the same note over and over for a quarter-hour or more until you realize they've been gradually shifting all along. On early albums like 1999's Enemy Hogs, they come off as a kind of stoner-rock unit, but on 2000's definitive half-hour-plus Steel Rod EP, they squeeze Link Wray barbed-wire twang and a choogling Creedence cover into weird nerd-rock that balances the sludge with science-lab keyboards after the manner of Devo or Pere Ubu. "Power Animals," on 2000's Come on Everybody Let's Rock, was about a deadlocked presidential election -- not Bush and Gore, but Tilden and Hayes in 1876. On 2002's double disc, Each One Teach One, they carried water-torture minimalism to its breaking point, and since then -- averaging more or less an album a year -- they've gotten both daintier and dronier, picking up indie fans much younger than themselves, then regularly finding ways to dumbfound them.
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