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Nits
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The Nits are a prolific Dutch art pop group who fuse classic '60s British Invasion sounds with the influence of new wave bands like XTC and Talking Heads, as well as the synth experiments of Kraftwerk. Formed in 1974 when its members were still students, the band consisted of Hans "Henk" Hofstede (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Rob Kloet (drums), Alex Roelofs (bass), and Michiel Peters (guitar, vocals). The Nits spent four years playing clubs and honing their chemistry, and a spot in a concert showcase for Dutch bands in 1975 led to the release of an indie single, "Yes or No." Their self-titled, independent debut LP followed in 1978, and the Nits were signed to the Dutch arm of CBS. Producer Robert-Jan Stips (ex-Golden Earring keyboardist) was brought in for the 1979 album Tent, while 1980's arty New Flat expanded the band's cult beyond their native country. Roelofs left the band after 1981's Work, and Stips joined the band as a full-time keyboardist. 1983's Omsk and the Kilo EP saw the Nits beginning to shed some of the derivativeness of their early efforts, a move continued on 1984's Adieu, Sweet Bahnhof, which was produced by Jaap Eggermont. Peters left the band to resume his law studies in 1985, so the band took a largely electronic approach to 1986's Henk, their most original and distinctly European work to that date. But the Nits' real breakthrough Netherlands hit came with 1987's rawer sounding In the Dutch Mountains, recorded in a gymnasium/rehearsal hall straight to two-track; thanks in part to the success of the tongue-in-cheek title track, the band toured northern Europe, Canada, and the U.S. with new bassist Joke Geraets. A double live album, Urk, was recorded over the tour and released under the shortened moniker Nits in 1989. Geraets was forced to leave the band (officially in 1991) due to a muscle disease that prevented her from playing bass; she then opened her own recording studio. Consequently, 1990's Giant Normal Dwarf and 1992's Ting returned to the trio sound of Henk. In between, the group had recorded a collaboration with the Netherland Radio Symphony Orchestra called Hjuvi: A Rhapsody in Time, which mixed Nits songs with classical- and Gershwin-influenced music. Bassist Martin Bakker and percussionist Peter Meuris joined in 1992 as touring members and became an official part of the lineup on 1994's dA dA dA, the first Nits album to be released in the U.S. After a Dutch-only collaboration with comedian Freek de Jonge (Dankzij de Dijken), the greatest-hits compilation Nest was issued in 1995. Stips left the band for a side project, Stips' Egotrip, which also included Bakker; however, the rest of the band planned to remain active. Steve Huey

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