For Against

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For Against
Origin Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Genres Alternative rock
Shoegaze
Post-punk
Dream pop
Years active 1984-present
Labels Republic Issue
Independent Project
Rainbow Quartz
Words on Music
Captured Tracks
Associated acts The Millions
Members Jeffrey Runnings
Harry Dingman III
Nick Buller
Past members Greg Hill
Steven "Mave" Hinrichs
Paul Engelhard
Steve Schultz
Jeff Gaskins
John Fynbu

For Against are a United States post-punk/proto-shoegaze rock band from Lincoln, Nebraska. Despite numerous lineup shuffles and some periods of dormancy, the band has produced material steadily from its 1984 inception to the present.

History[edit]

Something of an anomaly in Midwestern America, For Against—especially early in its career—has looked to a distinctly British aesthetic for inspiration, most obviously the post-punk scene exemplified by the early rosters of the Factory and 4AD record labels.

Featuring members of underground Lincoln bands Cartoon Pupils and Hymn to Joy, the band first called itself Glue, and then D.B.L., finally settling on Four Against One,[1] a name that reflected its status as a quintet at the time. Bassist Liz Panarelli's early departure gave way to keyboardist Jeffrey Runnings' shift to bass, as well as the band's truncation of its name to For Against. By 1985, singer Jon Fynbu had departed as well, leaving the core trio of guitarist Harry Dingman III, drummer Gregory Hill, and bassist Jeffrey Runnings. The latter would become (with very few exceptions) the band's sole vocalist and lyricist.[2]

In 1985, For Against debuted on vinyl with the "Autocrat"/"It's a Lie" single, released in a limited run on the band's own Republic Issue label. This single has become highly collectible among the group's fanbase. Additional early material was later released as the In the Marshes 10" EP (recorded 1985, released 1990) and Black Soap EP (recorded 1984, released 2011).

In 1987, the band signed to Independent Project Records (IPR), issuing its first full-length, Echelons. That year the band undertook its only full tour to date, promoting Echelons at clubs across the U.S., including CBGB, Maxwell's, and Chicago's Cabaret Metro. Echelons received a Grammy nomination for its jacket design by IPR head Bruce Licher; each LP in the initial pressing of 1000 came with an actual shaft of wheat integrated into the cover illustration. Promotional videos were made for two of the album's songs, "Autocrat" and the title track; both were included as bonus material in the reissue of their second album, December.[3]

Having received favorable press for the melodic post-punk of Echelons, For Against released follow-up December the next year, to equally rave reception. The band lost considerable momentum, however, when Hill took his leave, followed shortly thereafter by Dingman after a brief attempt at a retooled, four-piece lineup. Hill and Dingman would soon form The Millions, a melodic alt-rock outfit with more mainstream leanings than For Against.

Runnings, who had by this time switched from bass to guitar, continued on with bassist Jeff Gaskins and drummer Steve Schultz, playing under the name Stahlversion for a time before returning to the For Against handle. The band next added second guitarist Stephen "Mave" Hinrichs to the lineup; Hinrichs' band The Gladstones (formerly Playground), a steady name on the Lincoln scene, had just broken up. By the end of 1990, Schultz had been replaced with drummer Paul Engelhard. This lineup of For Against released two singles in 1991 and 1993; all five songs from those singles found their way onto the band's 1993 album Aperture. This album also featured six unheard tracks from 1990-91 recording sessions, characterized by a more relaxed, repetitive songwriting style than on earlier For Against records, making full use of the layering capabilities of the new two-guitar lineup.

By the time of Aperture's release (delayed due to IPR's distribution woes), Gaskins had left the group; the album credits thank him for his bass playing but do not list him as a band member. Runnings returned to bass, and For Against has remained a trio ever since.

For Against recorded two more albums, Mason's California Lunchroom (1995) and Shelf Life (1997), before reemerging on a new label in 2002 with the album Coalesced. Hinrichs soon left the band and moved to Virginia, leaving the group's existence in doubt.

In 2004 and 2005, the band's first two albums were remastered and reissued on CD, with modified cover art. Original guitarist Dingman rejoined the band, and in 2007 Nick Buller became the new permanent drummer. They toured Greece and Spain in 2007 and Italy in March 2008.

In 2013, Captured Tracks released a For Against box set containing Echelons, December and In the Marshes.[4]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Echelons (1987, Independent Project; reissued 2004, Words on Music)
  • December (1988, Independent Project; reissued 2005, Words on Music)
  • Aperture (1993, Rainbow Quartz/Independent Project)
  • Mason's California Lunchroom (1995, Rainbow Quartz/Caroline)
  • Shelf Life (1997, Independent Project/World Domination)
  • Coalesced (2002, Words on Music)
  • Shade Side Sunny Side (2008, Words on Music)
  • Never Been (2009, Words on Music)

Singles and EPs[edit]

  • "Autocrat" 7" (1985, Republic Issue)
  • In the Marshes 10" EP (1990, Independent Project)
  • "You Only Live Twice" 7" (1991, Part Trance)
  • "Don't Do Me Any Favors" 7" (1993, IPR)
  • Black Soap (2011, Words on Music)

Compilations[edit]

Music videos[edit]

  • "Autocrat" (1987)
  • "Echelons" (1987)

External links[edit]

References[edit]