The Faint (Omaha, Nebraska) are one of the "new New Wave" bands that emerged in the late 90s, paying homage to classic bands such as New Order, Joy Division, Kraftwerk, and Gary Numan's Tubeway Army, while adding several modern indie rock touches and taking advantage of advances in synthesizer and electronica technology available today.
Todd Baechle - vocals, synthesizer
Clark Baechle - drums
Joel Petersen - bass
Jacob Thiele - synthesizer
Dapose - lead guitar
The Faint actually started out in 1994 with just brothers Todd and Clark Baechle and Joel Petersen, making lo-fi anti-folk cassettes for Lumberjack Records (later named Saddle Creek Records) under the name Norman Bailer. In 1995, they contributed what can only be described as a "power ballad" to the Music Me All Over compilation which featured some analog keyboards, a striking contrast to the math-rock dominated indie scene of the time.
The band changed their name to The Faint in 1998 and released Media, a mix of synth-laden Britpop and still more folk accentuated with tape loops and electronically generated guitars. After going on tour that year, the band decided to focus much more on the live experience of their shows. Abandoning guitars almost all together, the band replaced all of their instruments with synthesized complements, even adding Jacob Thiele as a full time synthesizer player. The band was fairly new to the fully synthesized sound, and their 1999 album Blank-Wave Arcade displayed this point rather vigorously - while many of the songs were more or less direct homages to the New Wave bands of the early 1980s, almost all of the lyrical content dealt with sex and/or personal emotional interaction (getting the band unfairly labeled "sex fiends"), and a few of the songs showed surprising experimentation with the production techniques that hadn't been available in the 1980s.
The band continued to refine their new, darker sound, adding Dapose on guitar (after his stint in death metal band LEAD) in January 2001. Releasing Danse Macabre the same year, the band showed significant progress both in lyrical content (focusing on the Information Age and its effects on modern society) as well as their finalized sound, a much harsher, vaguely industrial noise mix over the clean analogs of their predecessors. The album's single "Agenda Suicide," received meager airplay on MTV2 and MTV, despite protests from some parents' groups who thought the title was too suggestive. The album itself had the distinction of being nominated for the Long List portion of the Shortlist Prize by Paul Oakenfold.
In 2004, The Faint released Wet from Birth, an album both in line with their popular industrial new wave sound, but also featuring more nods towards glitchtronica, IDM, and glam rock.
It should be noted that members of The Faint also appear in a few other bands: Lullaby For The Working Class, The Good Life, and Broken Spindles (a solo project for Joel Petersen.)
The band's live show is something of a rave: plenty of epileptically-inspired flashing lights, glowing things aplenty, and some of the best modern dance music money can buy. If you happen to see The Faint coming to your town any time soon, do drop in. You won't regret it at all.
as Norman Bailer:
- Music Me All Over compilation, Saddle Creek], 1995 (contributed 1 song, "Music Me All Over")
as The Faint:
- Saddle Creek Records compilation, Saddle Creek, 1997 (contributed 2 songs, "Typing: 1974-2048" and "Some Incriminating Photographs")
- Nothing Left Fanzine #8 compilation, Nothing Left, 1998 (contributed 1 song, "Acting On Campus Television")
- Media, Saddle Creek, 1998
- The Faint/Ex-Action Figures 7" split, Saddle Creek, 1999
- Blank-Wave Arcade, Saddle Creek, 1999
- Danse Macabre, Saddle Creek, 2001
- Mote/The Dust 12" EP, GSL, 2001
- Danse Macabre: Remixes, Saddle Creek, 2002
- Wet From Birth, Saddle Creek, 2004