North Carolinian Eric Bachmann's debut solo album may be called Short Careers, but Bachmann's musical career has been anything but. Beginning with his early-'90s indie band the Archers of Loaf (whose single "Web in Front" took over the college radio airwaves), the onetime 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 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, and then capped 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. The record finds Bachmann playing folky melodies and drunken, swirling Americana that treads the ground of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Nick Drake. Bring on the Snakes, Crooked Fingers' more optimistic sophomore output, followed in 2001. In 2002, Bachmann put out his first set of recordings under his own name. The album, entitled Short Careers, marks Bachmann's first foray into film scores. It collects eerie instrumentals filled with apprehensive string arrangements and ominous acoustic guitars that accompany the film Ball of Wax, a story of an evil baseball player mad with greed. Somehow the subject matter suits Bachmann perfectly -- taking the most American of sports and twisting it inside out to reveal the darkness that lurks beneath the surface. He released his second proper solo album, the sparse and powerful To the Races, in summer 2006. ~ Charles Spano