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Originally from Phoenix, Lois Maffeo began performing in Olympia, where she had moved to attend Evergreen College. She first received attention for the minimalist pop duo she formed with her friend Pat Maley, which they rather misleadingly named Courtney Love (no relation to the band Hole or its controversial singer). In 1991, Courtney Love broke up after several acclaimed seven-inches, and Lois moved to Washington D.C., where she began recording with a variety of collaborators as Lois and later The Lois. She has since returned to Olympia.

Her work under her own name has continued in the same simple love-pop vein as Courtney Love, though she has matured immensely as a songwriter. The spartan, stripped-down style of her songs, whose instrumentation often consists of nothing more than a guitar or two and perhaps drums, makes you think of a calm ocean rippling gently beneath the cool salt breeze of Lois's clear, tensile soprano. The songs on Lois's last full-length, Infinity Plus, featuring Heather Dunn (formerly of Tiger Trap) and Brendan Canty (Fugazi), are sometimes bitter, sometimes brooding, sometimes impossibly beautiful. For all their seeming musical and lyrical simplicity, they contain more layers than an onion. That record's featured track, "Rougher," a resigned after-love song, is nothing more than Lois and Elliott Smith on voice and guitar. It was recorded in Smith's living room in Portland.

Since 1996's Infinity Plus, Lois Maffeo has also collaborated with Canty on a record called the The Union Themes.