Madison, Wisconsin-based His & Her Vanities developed when Ricky and Terrin Riemer began writing music together in their basement while their infant son was asleep at night. With Terrin playing around on bass and Ricky on drums, the couple worked up entire song arrangements, recorded them, and layered other instruments and vocals on top. After amassing a collection of slightly angular, post-punk/pop-rock songs this way, the couple decided to bring the songs to the stage with a full band. In 2001, drummer Sara Quigle joined the Riemers, and with Ricky moving to guitar they played several shows together before recording their self-titled debut, released in June 2002. With the addition of Matt Abplanalp on rhythm guitar (also a bandmate of Ricky's in spazzy math-rock band Transformer Lootbag), H&HV emerged as a four-piece for live shows.
While the debut album's extensive use of back-up vocals and synthesizer tracks at times gravitated toward sonic chaos, their sophomore effort, "A Thought Process" (2004), took a toned-down approach presenting the songs closer to the way they would sound live. Immediately following the disc's release, Ricky and Terrin's second son arrived, making it a little trickier to find creative time to work on new H&HV music. Concurrently, their self-run record label, Science of Sound, began growing as well. After existing solely to release their own bands’ music, the label's reach expanded to other Midwestern acts including the garage-folk punk of Sleeping in the Aviary and orchestral-pop outfit Pale Young Gentlemen. Between time spent promoting the label, more extensive recording work for others in their basement studio and raising two active young boys, it took awhile for H&HV's third release to emerge. But "The Mighty Lunge" makes it to the finish line in October 2009. Self-recorded, mixed and produced, with eight tracks and a running time just shy of 30 minutes, "The Mighty Lunge" combines many of the band's past sounds along with some fresh forms of experimentation.
Praise for H&HV’s debut album, “His & Her Vanities” (2002):
While the arty His & Her Vanities owes a great deal of its canon to post-punkers Devo, the spirited recklessness of the Pixies, and even the pre-punk innovators the Monks, it would be severely unfair to dub the group as a carbon copy of anything. An infectious, fun, and refreshing group that simultaneously stands far out from and somehow fits into the scene of the numerous punk and post-punk revivalist bands that dominated indie culture during the early 2000s. –All Music Guide
Jagged vocal and instrumental lines drift in and out of phase in organic accidents, creating songs so thick that the listener has to experience the music rather than digest its parts. I believe H&HV prefers its songs to be lessons in audience concentration until ultimately forcing the audience to surrender to the chaos that swirls about. My advice: trust the band to take you on their ride. –Too Much Rock
Praise for H&HV’s sophomore album, “A Thought Process” (2004):
“…A Thought Process, marks a new His and Her Vanities; a less experimental, more comfortable song-writing entity, one that’s begun to place the raw power of guitar, bass, and drums at the foreground, and glitchy electronics at the back. Every arrangement is so creative, every song a work of surprising ingenuity…” –Emmie Magazine
This 10-song disc marks a confident step forward for HHV, as the band's driving, danceable rhythms and angular, Devo-esque melodies are brought into even sharper focus. In particular, Ricky's guitar leads chime, clang and roar like a symphony of metal-stamping tools, while the whole band infuse the catchy "Notapartablurb" with an extra steroid boost. And for a welcome twist, splashes of early-Pink Floyd psychedelia color the soft-toned "Field Fire". More so than on their debut, there's a discernible sense of warmth coursing through this album. It's a subtle, largely indefinable quality, but one that strongly suggests the Vanities have come into their own. –The Isthmus