One of the most underrated power pop bands of the '80s, the Spongetones released several albums of effortlessly catchy guitar pop that captured the feel of '60s British Invasion pop with remarkable accuracy and innocent charm. While they never received much critical or commercial attention, their music has aged much better than most power pop of the era (late '70s and early '80s), and among specialists they're highly revered not only for their studio prowess but also for their spirited live shows. They are one of the few bands that gracefully carried on past the "skinny tie" fad into the '90s and beyond -- not as strict revivalists but as something unique. The band, comprised of Steve Stoeckel (vocals, bass), Pat Walters (vocals, guitar), Jamie Hoover (vocals, guitar), and Rob Thorne (drums), began as a covers band in Charlotte, NC in the early '80s. They signed to the Ripete label in 1982 and released their first full-length, Beat Music, the same year, following with the Torn Apart EP in 1984 -- the latter featuring esteemed guests Don Dixon, Mitch Easter, and R.E.M. on handclaps. Stoeckel temporarily left the band, returning in 1991.