They Were: The Van Pelt
Sort of. Guitarist/vocalist is Chris Leo, Ted's younger brother, who founded the band somewhere between 1993 and 1995 at New York University, i.e., when it was still cool to admit that.
Strange connection: I saw this band play before Cursive at the Radio Room during SXSW '09. Did I realize this was their first show in 10+ years? No. Did I remember to take a note of this melodic, spoken-word, Sonic Youth inspired act? No. Thankfully for me, The Appleseed Cast closed their February show at the Bottom Lounge with a cover. Shit was so good I had to figure out who the original song was by: you guessed it, Frank Stallone.
But really, it was The Van Pelt's "The Speeding Train".
[BONUS FUN FACTS: Bassist Toko Yasuda later would join Blonde Redhead and currently resides with Enon. Guitarist Brian Maryansky had a brief stint in Jets to Brazil. Chris Leo is Ted Leo's brother. Oh, I already mentioned that? That was the basis for this week's weak "Before They Were" connection? Right then.]