The Rise Of Two-Piece Bands

It has come to my attention lately that bands with just two members are emerging left right and centre onto the music scene. After spending some time pondering this developing phenomenon, I ask myself, why? Perhaps the age old saying is true: Are two heads really better than one?

Understandably, two-piece bands are usually fairly rare due to the difficulty in providing all the instrumental parts, most omitting one of the elements to get round that problem. Having only two people in a band is bound to significantly influence and alter the music that is created. One of the most famous bands known for their pairing-up is Canadian Noise-Rock duo, Death From Above, who's line-up consisted of Jesse F. Keeler on bass, synths & backing vocals and Sebastien Grainger on vocals and drums. Without a lead guitarist, their music was inevitably moulded around their abilities as a duo; they played loud, Heavy Metal influenced, Dance-Punk based around a bass and drums combination.

However, it seems that the real pioneers of this two-piece genre that is now becoming so prevalent in the Rock genre stems from Americans, Flat Duo Jets. Formed in the 1980s, Dexter Romweber (guitar) and Chris "Crow" Smith (drums) were a Rockabilly band who's first release, Flat Duo Jets, was recorded direct to two tracks in a garage. They have been major influences for many bands since, especially during the 90's and 2000's - Jack White and The White Stripes being one of them.

Other pioneering and notable two-piece bands from the 90's include Lightning Bolt, who play a more aggressive breed of Noise-Rock twinned with guerilla-style live performances. Brian Chippendale (drums and vocals) and Brian Gibson (bass) have cited influences from Japanse Noise-Rock bands, as well as the experimental approach of Philip Glass and Sun Ra. To create the illusion of more than two members, the band manage to create occasional harmonies and counter-melodies using delay pedals, pitch shifters and looping devices, proving that it can be done with just two people!

So besides these two-piece pioneers, who else has followed in their well-trodden footsteps? Well, in past decades we've seen many duos from all genres rise up to the call of the two-piece such as the likes of Electronic/Dance duo, Pet Shop Boys, Daft Punk and Erasure. Moving into the Rock arena, there's the Cabaret-Rock of the Dresden Dolls, comic rock duo, Tenacious D and of course, the female/male Garage Rock (now divorced) pair, The White Stripes.

But it seems that there's something about a musical two-piece. Maybe it's the simplicity that everyone loves? Un-complicated, unadulterated back-to-grass-roots music. Who knows? The one thing I do know is that they're all over the charts at the moment. Here's a just a small selection, enjoy!:

The Kills - Future Starts Slow:

The Black Keys - Gold On The Ceiling:

Blood Red Shoes - Cold:

DZ Deathrays - Teeth:

Can you think of any other two-piece bands? Let us know!