The Austin Chronicle

Spotlight: Ume

By Darcie Stevens, March 14, 2008, Music

8pm, B.D. Riley's

Don't be fooled by that pretty petite in front of the mic. This is no gimmick. Rock & roll firebrand Lauren Langner Larson gets ferocious onstage. With husband Eric Larson on bass and Jeff Barrera on drums, Ume brings a fresh sound of growl and hiss to the stage. With just one album to its name (ooo-may), 2005's Urgent Sea (Pretty Activity), the once long-distance trio, formed in Houston in 2002, has blossomed in the nine months that all three have been in Austin.

"Our songs sound more channeled, and we're spending a lot more time in the songwriting process," LLL imparts. "We're trying not to lose the intensity, but we're trying to incorporate that intensity with more melody."

Ume is without trend, each song echoing decades of rock history while spinning its own wheels and finding plenty of traction. There's no image over substance, and just because they have a DIY ethic and spouses in the band doesn't mean they want to be Sonic Youth.

"My hair's not blond because I'm trying to be like Kim, and we're not married because we want to be Kim and Thurston," Lauren balks. "There are tons of women musicians who, instead of being their own voice, they're Kim Gordon, sexually frustrated, or strung out."

Lauren explodes in her own distinct way, bred through teenage years in a thrash metal band, and her counterparts feed off that, the local trio whipping into a rarely seen froth. With 15 songs waiting for tape and an engineer in the wings, all Ume needs is someone who believes in the band's power, authenticity, and ambition.

"I'd like to have three more albums out, at least," Lauren says of her plans for the next five years. "Maybe a baby on a tour bus."

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