Pop Etc

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Pop Etc
The Morning Benders (now POP ETC) performing at Toronto's Mod Club Theatre in 2010
The Morning Benders (now POP ETC) performing at Toronto's Mod Club Theatre in 2010
Background information
Also known asThe Morning Benders
OriginBerkeley, California, USA
GenresIndie pop, indie rock, baroque pop, synthpop, new wave
Years active2005–present
LabelsRough Trade Records
MembersChris Chu
Jon Chu
Julian Harmon
Past membersTim Or
Joe Ferrell
Van Pierszalowski
Tom Peyton

POP ETC (pronounced "pop et cetera"), formerly known as The Morning Benders, is an indie rock band from Berkeley, California, later based in Brooklyn, New York.[1]

In 2008, they released their debut album Talking Through Tin Cans on +1 Records. The band has toured in support of Broken Bells (spring 2010), Grizzly Bear (fall 2009), The Kooks and Death Cab for Cutie (summer 2008), Ra Ra Riot (fall 2008), and has also played with Yo La Tengo, MGMT, Grand Archives, Yeasayer, Two Gallants, The Rosebuds, Au Revoir Simone, We Are Scientists, and White Rabbits.[citation needed] They also toured with Broken Bells and The Black Keys in 2010[citation needed].

In December 2008, iTunes deemed Talking Through Tin Cans the best indie/alternative album of 2008. Earlier that year, they also received the honor of "Editor's Pick".[2] In March 2010, the popular music website Pitchfork deemed their 2nd studio album, Big Echo, Best New Music, and gave it an 8.2 rating.

On March 25, 2012, the band posted on Facebook and Twitter that the band's name would be changed to POP ETC. The decision was made after the band discovered that the term 'bender' has negative connotations in certain countries outside the United States, particularly in the United Kingdom.[3]


Formation and early years (2005–2008)[edit]

The Morning Benders started in 2005 as a solo-project for Chris Chu. During that time, he spent his days studying music at the University of California, Berkeley whilst spending his nights recording songs from a laptop. As time passed, he formed a band with friends who he had met in UC Berkeley.

The band did all they could to spread word about The Morning Benders; playing in local gigs, making lots of friends on MySpace, emailing bloggers and conversing with club promoters. This led to offers from various local independent labels. The Morning Benders had chosen +1 Records to support them in recording their albums.

The Loose Change EP (September 2006)[edit]

First EP of The Morning Benders which was released in September, 2006. The members at the time included Chris, Van Pierszalowski, Joe Ferrell and Tom Peyton. This EP had been recorded on a laptop.

Boarded Doors EP (2007)[edit]

In early 2007, the Morning Benders released a second EP titled Boarded Doors. This EP had been recorded in the basement of the band which was where they practiced. During this time, Chris started to work as a studio engineer to help to pay his band's recordings.

Talking Through Tin Cans (2008)[edit]

Their debut album "Talking Through Tin Cans" was both produced, engineered and mixed by Chris Chu. It was released on their label +1 records. People had called the style of this album to be "So-Cal 60's Pop". They had toured with various acts including The Kooks and Death Cab For Cutie. In December, iTunes considered this album to be the best indie/alternative album of 2008. The members involved in this album were Chris Chu, Joe Ferrell, David Perales and Julian Harmon.

Bedroom Covers (2008)[edit]

The Morning Benders had released Bedroom Covers EP, on their old blog called "Gigantic." The songs were covers of many bands and artists including Velvet Underground, The Cardigans, Fleetwood Mac and The Smiths just to name a few. The artwork of the cover was done by Kyle Lee.

Tours in 2009[edit]

[4] In 2009, The Morning Benders toured with The Submarines around the US. They both covered each other's songs with The Morning Benders doing a cover of "1940's" whilst the Submarines did a cover of "Waiting For A War." During March, they also toured in the SXSW in Austin, Texas.

They performed with their friend John Vanderslice on May 19 at the Rickshaw Stop. On May 20, they did a show at El Rey Theatre with The Walkmen. The Morning Benders toured around UK and Europe in early August. In August 28–30, they played for Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco.

During October, they had toured with Grizzly Bear and in December they toured with Girls.

Grain of Salt EP and other releases (2009)[edit]

The Grain of Salt EP was released on February 24, 2009 which included songs such as "A Song" and "Your Dark Side." There was also a different version to "Grain of Salt" which is the bonus track for the album. On July 7, 2009 ITunes released a tribute album to Frank Sinatra called His Way, Our Way, which included The Morning Benders covering "Strangers in the Night". On December 15, 2009, The Morning Benders signed to Rough Trade Records to release their next album in early 2010.

Big Echo (2010)[edit]

"Shouting into a valley big shout: big echo small shout: small echo"

The album was produced in eleven days and was then mixed on the twelfth day in Brooklyn. Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear had helped produce the album. This album was influenced by many contemporary bands and artists, including Phil Spector, who developed the "Wall of Sound" recording technique in the 1950s and 60s. "Excuses" which is the first track of the album, was given many positive reviews. The second song on Big Echo is "Promises" and they had made a music video which described children growing up too fast. It was released on March 9, 2010 on Rough Trade.

Post-Big Echo (2010–2011)[edit]

In 2010, Chris Chu's brother Jon replaced Joe Ferrell as the guitarist in the band. They had gathered with all their closest friends to play a live performance of "Excuses" on Yours Truly. The band moved to Brooklyn, New York, USA. In October 2010, they showed their new song "Virgins" in La Blogtheque in France.

They had earlier planned to have a tour in Tokyo but because of the disastrous Japanese earthquake and tsunami, they had to cancel and reschedule their gigs. They released Japan Echo EP earlier in 2011, which will support the people who experience devastation during the Japan floods. The EP included many artists such as Twin Sister, Star Slinger and Wild Nothing. In early August, the band were able to play at Summer Sonic in Tokyo and Osaka. In 2012, the band changed their name to POP ETC and released a self-titled album.

Souvenir (2016)[edit]

The band spent the past three years since the release of POP ETC writing material for a new record, later announced to be called Souvenir. They supported The Wombats on tour in 2015 and in January 2016, toured the Northeast with Oh Wonder.

Infinite Singles Collection and Half (2017-2018)[edit]

Beginning with "Routine" in March 2017, the band put out a series of singles dubbed the "Infinite Singles Collection" throughout 2017 and 2018. This was followed by the official announcement in August 2018 that their next album, Half, featuring many of the singles from the collection, would be released on October 3 of that year.


Studio albums[edit]


  • Loose Change (2006)
  • Boarded Doors (2007)
  • Waiting for a War (2008)
  • The Bedroom Covers (2008)
  • Grain of Salt (2009)
  • Lipstick (2009)
  • Japan Echo (2011)


  • Promises (2010)
  • Go Grab a Stranger (2010)
  • Virgins (2010)
  • Running in Circles (2015)


  • Pop Etc Mixtape (2012)

Other releases[edit]

  • The Bedroom Covers (2008)
  • Lemonade - Skin & Bones (2009)

Compilation Appearances[edit]

Production/Songwriting contributions to other bands/artists[edit]

In 2010, Chris had assisted in the production of So Many Wizard's album "Love Songs for When You Leave Me".

In January 2011, Chris Chu had helped and produced Chloe Makes Music's debut "The Pupeteer" in which he performed "The Duel" with Chloe Makes Music.

In October 2013 Chris Chu produced Japanese rock band Galileo Galilei's album ALARMS (Sony Music), he also co-wrote their EP "See More Glass"

In April 2014, Chris Chu mixed the song "900 Hands" for the band Elskling.[6]

In December 2014, Chris Chu produced and wrote music for J-POP idol Kimura Kaela's album "MIETA"

In April 2015, Chris co-wrote and produced WATERS' album "What's Real" alongside Ryan Rabin from Grouplove.

In September 2016 Chris co-wrote "Revolution" by First Aid Kit and Van William

In Spring and Summer of 2017 Chris produced and co-wrote "Don't You Go" by Thai star Stamp Apiwat in collaboration with the Thai band Polycat.

In May 2017, Chris Chu co-wrote and produced WATERS' album "Something More!"

In popular culture[edit]

The advertisement for Sony 3d Television in SEAsia featured the song Excuses from their album Big Echo.[7]

The advertisement for Reese's peanut butter cups candy in the United States featured the song Excuses from their album Big Echo.

The song Excuses is also featured in the episode "Chuck vs. Phase Three" on TV series Chuck.

Torey Pudwill's skateboarding part for Transworld's "Hallelujah" featured the song "Excuses" from Big Echo.

Burton's 2009 "The B" snowboard movie features the song "Waiting for a War" from Talking Through Tin Cans.

Top Gear season 17 episode 5 references the band in a discussion about the Aston Martin Cygnet & Colette.

The intro of the song "Excuses" is now the theme song for The New Normal.

Their song "Speak Up" is featured on the soundtrack in the final installment of The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part 2.

Shinichiro Watanabe's 2014 anime series Terror in Resonance features two original songs: "is", featured in episode 4; and "lava". The vocals of both songs are performed by Christopher Chu. Lyrics for each song were written by Christopher Chu. Additionally, Keisuke Tominaga contributed to the lyrics for "is".

The track "Running In Circles" is included in a YouTube video uploaded by JonTron, in which Jon and his friend Ethan from h3h3Productions attempt to learn martial arts.

The track "Running In Circles" is included in an episode of British television series Lovesick on Netflix.


  1. ^ Morris, Dave (November 2, 2010). "The Morning Benders are the Muhammad Ali of pop-rock[permanent dead link]", Eye Weekly. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  2. ^ Korn, Gabrielle (February 9, 2009). "Band taken with a 'Grain of Salt'", AM New York 7 (27): 18.
  3. ^ http://www.themorningbenders.com
  4. ^ "Gigantic **Closed**".
  5. ^ "Stereogum Presents… Stroked: A Tribute To Is This It". 26 July 2011.
  6. ^ Russell Jelinek (May 9, 2014). "Get to Know: Elskling". Comments Off on Get to Know: Elskling
  7. ^ Sony India (14 September 2010). "Sony India launches 3D products" – via YouTube.

External links[edit]