Idaho (band)

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OriginLos Angeles, California
GenresSlowcore, Indie rock, Singer-songwriter
Years active1992–present
Idaho Music
MembersJeff Martin
Past membersJohn K. Berry
Dan Seta
Mark Lewis
Jeff Zimmitti
Jeff Smith

Idaho is an American rock band formed in 1992 in Los Angeles, California by high school friends Jeff Martin and John K. Berry who had played in various bands and projects together since 1981. The duo, who switched off on drumming duties and shared in the songwriting, were eventually signed to Caroline Records in December 1992 by Brian Long, and soon after released The Palms EP and Year After Year full-length in 1993. Idaho drew frequent comparisons to American Music Club, Red House Painters, and Codeine, due to vocal, lyrical, and instrumental similarities. The band toured the United States with similar-minded artists such as Red House Painters, Half String, Low, and Cranes from 1993 to 1995. Dan Seta joined as a multi-instrumentalist on Three Sheets to the Wind, the band's third album, along with Terry Borden on bass (later of the Pete Yorn band) and Mark Lewis (West Indian Girl) on drums. Seta and Lewis had previously been in the band Pet Clarke together, along with Geoff Gans and former Let's Active touring bassist Janine Cooper, who went on to join Downy Mildew. Idaho also played dates in Europe with Lali Puna and Dirty Three.

Martin had recorded some solo songs (including "Never Back Again") in 1984 in the United Kingdom, but a solo career beyond Idaho never materialized. Idaho's sonic stylings range from existentially introspective songs to cathartic screaming, though their music falls in the first category the majority of the time. Their music is traditionally categorized as slowcore or sadcore. The band has released nine full-length albums, as well as numerous EPs and singles, dating back to 1992. Idaho has become primarily the vehicle of singer-songwriter Martin, who has performed the most recent of Idaho's albums almost entirely on his own and remains the band's sole songwriter and principal musician. His foreboding four-string tenor guitar playing (he has had several such guitars custom-made for him) is a hallmark of most Idaho albums, though later releases rely more heavily on piano, and their 2005 release, The Lone Gunman, often eschews traditional song structures for more instrumental experimentation. The band's 1998 album Alas featured vocals on a few songs by Melissa Auf der Maur.

In December 2008 Idaho contributed their track "Santa Claus Is Weird" to an Indiecater Records festive compilation titled An Indiecater Christmas. Martin has also contributed music for U.S. television shows, films, and documentaries.

On January 9, 2016 founding member John Berry died in his sleep.[1] The 2017 Idaho compilation People Like us Didn't Stop (Live, Volume 2) was dedicated to him.



  • Year After Year (1993, Caroline)
  • This Way Out (1995, Caroline)
  • Three Sheets To The Wind (1996, Caroline)
  • Alas (1998, Buzz)
  • Hearts of Palm (2000, Idaho Music)
  • Levitate (2001, Idaho Music)
  • The Lone Gunman (2005, Retrophonic)
  • You Were A Dick (2011, Idaho Music)
  • The Broadcast of Disease (collection of songs recorded between 1983 and 1989 by Jeff Martin, John Berry, and Doug Smith) (2015, Idaho Music)

Compilation and live albums[edit]

  • People Like Us Should Be Stopped (Live, Volume 1) (2000, Idaho Music) (Recorded Dec. 11, 1993 at Downtown Performing Arts Center in Tucson, AZ)
  • We Were Young And Needed The Money (compilation of rare and previously unissued songs from '92 to '00) (2002, Idaho Music)
  • Vieux Carré (compilation released in Germany) (2004, Kalinkaland)
  • People Like Us Didn't Stop (Live, Volume 2) (2017)


  • "Skyscrape" (b/w "Star") 7" (1993, Ringer's Lactate)
  • "Fuel" (b/w "Hail Mary") 7" (1993, Caroline)
  • Drive It (b/w "Sweep") 7" (released with two additional tracks in its CD format) (1994, Quigley)
  • "Pomegranate Bleeding" (b/w "The Right Escape") 7" (1996, Caroline)
  • Happy Times (split single with "Indian Summer" by Cobalt) 7" (2000, SNC Empire)
  • Straw Dogs (split single with "Narcolepsy Lake" and "You Packed Your Things" by Dakota Suite) 7" (2002, Misplaced Music)
  • To Be The One (2004, Kalinkaland)


  • The Palms E.P. (1993, Caroline)
  • The Bayonet EP (released with extra tracks in its 10" vinyl format) (1995, Fingerpaint)
  • The Forbidden EP (1997, Buzz)


  1. ^ Minsker, Evan (2016-01-10). "Idaho's John Berry Has Died". Pittchfork.

External links[edit]