The Pulsars

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The Pulsars
OriginChicago, Illinois
GenresNew wave, indie rock
Years active1994–2000, 2009
LabelsAlmo Sounds
MembersDave Trumfio & Harry Trumfio

The Pulsars was a new wave/indie rock band from Chicago, Illinois led by Dave Trumfio and his brother, Harry Trumfio. They signed to Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss's Almo Sounds label and recorded two albums in the mid-1990s,[1] one of which was released and another that has yet to be released.


The band comprised the brothers Dave and Harry Trumfio,[2] with Harry on drums and Dave producing, singing and playing all of the other instruments.[3] The brothers had played together in bands since they were at school, and recorded at home.[4] Trumfio named his synthesizers and electronic gear 'Theodore 9000', which he described as "the third member of our band", and the brothers considered 'T9000' as the name of the band before deciding on The Pulsars.[5] Dave Trumfio had previously played in Ashtray Boy and The Mekons.[6]

The Pulsars' first release was the Teenage Nights EP, on the Sweet Pea label in 1995. They were then signed to Almo Sounds in a US$2.5 million, three-album deal,[4][7] their first release for the label the five-track Submission to the Master e.p., on which label-boss Alpert contributed trumpet.[6][8]

The band's self-titled debut album was released on Almo Sounds in 1997, and was described as "an album that's in the moment, behind the times, and looking to the future", with influences from the early 1980s,[3] although writer Ritchie Unterberger viewed the band's sound as "considerably more enjoyable and warm" than their 1970s and 1980s influences, describing the album as "pleasant, catchy retro-new wave".[9] SPIN's Eric Weisbard described the album's songs as "amazingly confident, catchy anthems".[10] In the view of Trouser Press writer Ira Robbins:

"The album is one of the singular musical accomplishments of the '90s — with its combination of indelible melodies and seemingly pre-mature bedroom vulnerability and obsessions, it's a science fair version of Pet Sounds for the computer age." [8]

Several of the band's lyrics dealt with futuristic topics such as robots, spaceships, and aliens.[8][11] The debut album included "Tunnel Song", which was described as "a romantic ballad about the great highway tunnels of America", and "My Pet Robot", a love song to Theodore 9000.[5] The band's sound has been described as "a schizoid patchwork of synth-pop, new wave and R&B".[11] The band was compared with the Pixies by Allmusic writer Nitsuh Abebe,[12] also being compared The Cars and The Cure.[11] The band's live shows included dub interludes.[13]

The band was described as "Chicago's pre-eminent new wave revival band" by the Chicago Reader,[9] and "profoundly great" by Trouser Press.[8]

The band split up before their second album was completed, with Dave Trumfio become increasingly busy with production work, but reunited for a one-off performance in 2009 at The Bell House in Brooklyn.[14] The brothers reportedly had plans to complete the second Pulsars album, and were working again under the name Our Future.[14]




Singles, EPs[edit]

  • Teenage Nights EP (1995), Sweet Pea
  • Submission to the Master e.p. (Oct 8, 1996), Almo Sounds
  • "Suffocation" (Nov 3, 1998), Almo Sounds


  1. ^ "Pulsars - Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
  2. ^ "Pulsars - Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
  3. ^ a b Molanphy, Chris (1997) "Pulsars / Pulsars", CMJ New Music Monthly, May 1997, p.12
  4. ^ a b Kening, Dan (1996) "Rising stars The Trumfio brothers are ready to shine with a record deal and an upcoming Pulsars' album", Daily Herald (Arlington Heights), November 29, 1996, via Questia Online Library (subscription required)
  5. ^ a b Strauss, Neil (1997) "Nerdy White Boys", SPIN, May 1997, p. 28-9, retrieved 2012-01-08
  6. ^ a b Anderson, Lydia (1996) "The Pulsars", CMJ New Music Monthly, November 1996, retrieved 2012-01-08
  7. ^ Kot, Greg (1996) "Pulsars' Star Just Beginning To Sparkle", Chicago Tribune, December 3, 1996, retrieved 2012-01-08
  8. ^ a b c d Robbins, Ira. "Pulsars". Trouser Press. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
  9. ^ a b Unterberger, Ritchie (1999) Music USA: The Rough Guide, Rough Guides, ISBN 978-1-85828-421-7, p. 272-3
  10. ^ Weisbard, Eric (1997) "Pulsars Pulsars", SPIN, April 1997, p.155-6, retrieved 2012-01-08
  11. ^ a b c Gundersen, Edna (1997) "Pulsars' spaced-out debut; Fleming's expansive Schubert", USA Today, April 15, 1997, P. 4D (LIFE section)
  12. ^ Abebe, Nitsuh "Submission to the Masters Review", Allmusic, retrieved 2012-01-08
  13. ^ Meyer, Bill (1995) "Pulsars", Chicago Reader, retrieved 2012-01-08
  14. ^ a b Pearis, Bill (2009) "Pulsars reuniting for one Brooklyn show w/ Field Music, Wye Oak & "Rumours" (++ other tour dates & stuff)",, November 13, 2009, retrieved 2012-01-08

External links[edit]