Head of Femur (band)

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Head of Femur
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Indie rock
Years active 2001–present

Head of Femur is a Chicago band formed in November 2001 by Nebraska natives Mike Elsener, Ben Armstrong and Matt Focht. The band was initially conceived as a forum for the three to compose pop songs while awaiting the reformation of their previous band, Pablo's Triangle. As the weeks passed the reformation looked unlikely.

With a large catalog of songs already taking shape by early 2002, Head of Femur began to recruit musicians to flesh out the lineup for live performance. The nature of the music demanded more than the traditional rock band instrumentation, so strings, trumpet, and orchestral percussion were added along with drums and bass guitar. Head of Femur played their first show at a small club in Chicago in March 2002. They made plans to record a demo with local producer Jim Bentley and perform at Chicago's Empty Bottle.

On the strength of that demo, Portland's Greyday Productions signed Head of Femur in November, 2002. Recording sessions for the band's debut album, Ringodom or Proctor, took place in March 2003. Ten of Ringodom's eleven songs were among the first of the dozens composed by Elsener, Armstrong and Focht, and had been intended to comprise the first record since their inception. The album was recorded at Lincoln, Nebraska's Presto! Recording Studios with A.J. Mogis.

Following more than a year of touring as an 8-piece (2 guitars, trumpet, trombone, violin, drums, keys, 4 vocals & percussion) with such acts as Bright Eyes and Rilo Kiley, as well as outings on their own, Head of Femur signed with Brooklyn's spinART Records in the summer of 2004.

In August, 2004, Head of Femur set about recording their next full-length record. Hysterical Stars was recorded at Wall To Wall in Chicago with engineers Chris Brickley and Dan Dietrich and released in late May, 2005.

Head Of Femur spent 2005 touring with Architecture in Helsinki, Wilco, Dr. Dog, The Spinto Band, The Bruces, Andrew Bird, Matt Pond PA & headlining tours themselves. They were the first ever band on the first ever Intonation Festival and performed at the Wicker Park Festival, CMJ & SXSW.

During a short break from touring in the Fall of 2005, the group laid down four tracks mostly live at Truckstop Studios in Chicago. The recordings showcased a more band-oriented sound as opposed to the multi-tracked orchestra captured on their first two albums. The songs, including covers from The Band & Neil Young And Crazy Horse were released in late 2005 as an iTunes exclusive EP. Head Of Femur finished up the year by stripping the lineup down to a more traditional five-piece lineup of the core trio plus Nick "The Chancellor" Westra on bass/vocals and Tyson Thurston on keys. This lineup played two shows on New Year's Eve in Chicago.

As of May 2007, Head of Femur had completed work on their third full-length, "Great Plains", due to be released March 25, 2008.

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