The Giraffes are an indie rock band from Brooklyn, New York who first emerged in the late '90s. Originally formed as a trio in 1996 by guitarist Damien Paris, bassist Tim Kent, and drummer Andrew Totolos, the band released one album, 1998's Franksquilt, before welcoming singer Aaron Lazar in 2000. With 2002's Helping You Help Yourself, the Giraffes found their stride, delivering the explosive, riffy, punk-edged sound that would become their hallmark. A 2005 self-titled release on Razor & Tie helped them gain wider exposure, and that release, along with 2008's Prime Motivator, made references to traumatic personal events within the band, including a 2002 altercation that resulted in Paris getting shot in the leg, and Lazar suffering a series of heart attacks in 2005. By the decade's end, the Giraffes had earned a reputation as an exciting and unpredictable live band, touring the country alongside acts like Eagles of Death Metal, Skeleton Key, and the Strokes and playing major festivals like Bonnaroo and SXSW. By 2011, various members had begun to explore outside projects, and, following the release of Ruled, Lazar left the band. A rarities LP called Farewell Fat Astronaut appeared in 2012 and in 2013, the Giraffes released the more experimental Tales of the Black Whistle, which featured guest vocals from singers Brianna Wanless and Kimberly Paige Valor. By 2014, Lazar had rejoined the group for a number of shows and eventually some new material. Released in late 2015, Usury is the Giraffes' sixth studio album.
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