An unexpected collision of post-punk noise rock heavily influenced by both the late-'70s likes of the Slits and the Pop Group and vintage early industrial acts like Einsturzende Neubauten and Test Dept. with modern-day underground hip-hop and experimental electronica, Food for Animals formed in Baltimore, MD, in 2003. Producer and beatmaker Ricky Rabbit (Nick Rivetti) had released a handful of solo records featuring a breakbeat- and glitch-informed form of laptop-based noise rock when, through a mutual friend, he met Andrew Field Pickering, a Pennsylvania native who had played drums for a variety of local hardcore punk groups after moving to nearby Silver Spring. Rivetti played Pickering an unfinished track that needed a rapper, and Pickering quickly offered his rhymes. A year's worth of sporadic work (including guitar parts by engineer Daniel Helmer, an unofficial third member of the duo as Dr. Dan) turned into Food for Animals' debut EP, Scavengers, a 2004 release on the Canadian indie label Upper Class Recordings. A strident mix of Pickering's explicitly political rapping (under the stage name Vulture Voltaire) and Rivetti's grinding noise and cut-up beats, Scavengers attracted good if slightly puzzled reviews from online tastemakers like Pitchfork, but a period of personal distractions -- Pickering's mother died, and Rivetti and Helmer attended to their studies at James Madison University -- put off the follow-up. When the group regathered, Sterling Warren (Hy) joined as a more conventionally gifted rapper to complement Pickering's quirky, awkward flow. A full-length album, Belly, was released in early 2008. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi