Trans Am began as a side project. The members, who met while playing in the legendary harDCore/ska collective Bomblast, discovered they had a similar taste for music. They began jamming together.
One very hot summer in the mid-1990's the band found themselves in Chapel Hill playing music with Casio keyboards, loud guitars, drums and no vocals. They played oddly structured original songs and covers of David Bowie and Stravinsky. It seemed to work.
Somewhat mistakenly, Trans Am was heard by a Chicago-based vibraphone player named John McEntire. The band agreed to record some songs with McEntire which, when combined with a bunch of home recordings and other sound experiments, made up the band's first release on Thrill Jockey Records.
Then the band went through a series of reactionary moves - they began recording themselves so as not be associated as strongly with McEntire's sound, they used vocals to not be associated with the instrumental post rock they had pioneered, they used vocoders to not be associated with humans, they began burning things on stage, released a seven inch not on Thrill Jockey, got folky, then ugly, then poppy, then psychedelic, then political, then exploded and stopped being a band at all.
Trans Am's new album, "Sex Change", was released earlier this year.