SXSW showcase: Friday, March 19, Wave, 12mid
Watching Follow That Bird! onstage, one gets a tingly feeling from the early 1990s. Not riot grrl tingly – this is the young, idealistic, get-in-the-van-and-play-your-heart-out tingle of Merge or Matador Records. There's an energy in the local trio's sophisticated noise-pop, something even guitarist and singer Lauren Green can't explain.
"Being a band that blurs the line between more abrasive textures while still going after a pop song can make genre definition difficult," she ventures. "This is a trait many bands share, but I think most bands do it their own way. It's certainly where we really form our sound."
When Green and drummer Tiffanie Lanmon met in high school in Belton, Texas, not long ago, they played as an instrumental duo before picking up Rachel Badger on bass, moving to Austin, and making Follow That Bird! legal in late 2005. After Badger's exit in 2008, the ladies went back to a duo before recruiting Sex Advice bassist Mitchell Tellstrom last year. Their sound perked the ears of Matador's Gerard Cosloy, who asked them to contribute a track to Austin's indie coming-out, Casual Victim Pile.
"The Ghosts That Wake You" was already in progress, but when polished, it marked a shift from shaky post-punk to rock & roll anthem. Green's got one of those big, elastic voices that rips open in the span of three chords. Her playing has become a force too, matching that elasticity and providing a nice big pocket for the propulsive rhythm section. An EP from 2008 and last year's three-song 10-inch on local publishing house Monofonus Press have been nice appetizers. As for a full-length, the trio's been in the studio recording a track for Esopus magazine and is looking at another 7-inch before going in for the long haul.
"Sometimes an original sound can be a bit of a curse when you don't fit in a specific genre," Green adds. "We're too pop to be experimental, too experimental to be pop, and just because we like reverb doesn't make us a garage band. Don't we sound like a middle child? We just try to play shows where we won't bore someone or horribly offend anyone."
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