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When Rob Crow and Zach Smith formed Pinback in 1998, they quickly became one of the most-talked about San Diego bands in indie rock (even if they weren’t necessarily all that famous in San Diego). Their melancholy, atmospheric style, built on interlocking patterns created by Crow’s guitar and Smith’s bass, seemed made for movie soundtracks. (At least one song did appear in a movie, the box-office dud Elizabethtown.) But in the years since they released their fourth full length, 2007’s Autumn of the Seraphs, Pinback has kept a low profile.

Part of the reason for this has undoubtedly been the time pressure brought on by the band member’s numerous other projects. Smith (a.k.a. Armistead Burwell Smith IV) has been busy with the reunion of his old band Three Mile Pilot and a solo project called Systems Officer. Meanwhile, Crow has been recording solo and playing with Other Men, Goblin Cock, Optiganally Yours, and others. Pinback has also had a number of setbacks that were beyond their control, most tragically the cancer death of touring-keyboardist Terrin Durfey.

Nonetheless, Crow and Smith have kept Pinback going in one capacity or another. Last year, they staged a short tour as a duo. They called it “Pinback Presents the Rob and Zach Show.” More recently, they released two vinyl-only EPs in extremely limited quantities. From what I’ve heard of them, the EPs are among the best work Pinback has ever done. Reportedly, there is a new full-length release coming out early next year.

Ghetto Blaster also performs.

PINBACK: Belly Up Tavern, Monday, December 19, 9 p.m. 858-481-8140. $18, $20.

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