The Pants ruled the Burlington, Vermont music scene in the 1990s, combining the lo-fi underground aesthetic of bands like Guided By Voices and Pavement with songwriting chops reminiscent of The Pixies and Weezer’s River Cuomo. They could tear the roof off with crunching post-punk noise suffused with jazzy chords and rhythms. They could just as easily leave ladies swooning and guys crying in their beers with their bittersweet ballads. Their singular sound garnered the attention of music labels as well as the enduring admiration of Vermont contemporaries such as Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz, James Kochalka Superstar, and Trey Anastasio of Phish.
But as the ’90s came to a close, this buzz band from Burlington seemed to burn out as quickly as it had blown up, leaving many to wonder what had happened. In 2006, nearly a decade after calling it quits, The Pants reunited for one triumphant, sold-out show at the Higher Ground Ballroom, the city’s largest rock venue.
Now, as the band members have moved on to new bands, new careers, families, and lives, the songs of The Pants still live on through a dedicated network (cult?) of fans and artists inspired by a band that few outside of northern Vermont have ever heard of.