Agent: Mahmood Shaikh
Predating “The Year Punk Broke,” Chisel was already brewing a sound of mod-influenced punk and indie pop in 1990. Though Ted Leo, John Dugan, and Chris Infante were three Notre Dame students rehearsing in their dorm basement, their sound begged for bigger audiences. After Chris Norborg took over on bass in 1992, Chisel continued touring and began to develop its signature sound. After Chisel relocated to Washington, D.C. in 1994, Gern Blandsten Records released the Nothing New EP. The compilation features tracks yielded from sessions at Chicago’s Idful Music, D.C.’s WGNS, and with Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto. 1996 brought Chisel’s first LP, 8 A.M. All Day. Recorded by Archie Moore of Velocity Girl, the album channels the energy of the band’s live show through Leo’s increasingly ambitious songs. Chisel released its LP Set You Free in 1997. Working with Nicolas Vernhes at the Rare Book Room in Brooklyn, the band undertook a sprawling exploration of sound and style, with Norborg contributing a trio of songs and some lead vocals. Chisel conquered new territory on the record, offering multifaceted songwriting and warm-yet-immediate production. Set You Free set the stage for the continual creative growth that has distinguished Leo’s subsequent output with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and as a solo artist. In 2022, Numero Group announced a series of remastered and expanded Chisel reissues.