Keep It Foxy

Madame Machine and Twenty First Century Fox at Third Street Dive 03.02.13When people talk about the best bands in Louisville during this decade, Twenty First Century Fox is always one of those mentioned. Originally created for a B-52s tribute band, Mock Lobster, the self-described “contemporary rock and roll ensemble” with the three guitars evolved into a powerfully creative noise-pop attack.

Those guitarists – Miranda Cason, Laura Quimby and Sean Gardener – are backed by the rhythm section of bassist William Baumler and drummer Greg Ward. Together, the members have decades of experience in bands, playing in 21st century Louisville favorites such as Venus Trap, Karass, Neighbor, Bu Hao Ting, Vampire Squid and more.

Finally, after a long wait, the band has completed a full-length album, “Pet Rounds”. (The title is obviously a punny play on the most classic Beach Boys album, a fact which your interviewer obliquely references below). These days, they cite guitar-rich bands from Black Sabbath to Helium as influences, though the album leans more towards the latter underrated ’90s indie band than the former ‘70s metal godfathers. The album will be celebrated with a show at Zanzabar on Saturday. Fellow rising stars Twin Limb share the bill.

Special bands deserve special questions. The two members that answered these questions with dignity, fortitude and style were Cason and Baumler.

What is music?
Miranda Cason: Emotional communication.

’90s culture has begun to make a comeback. How important was that decade to your musical development?
MC: We have been known to sing “No Scrubs” at the practice space. We have referenced ‘90s culture in our lyrics and some of our in-jokes are pretty ‘90s specific. I think the ‘90s were a pretty formative time for all of us in the band. I have a special place in my heart for the music of that decade. There were many artists that influenced me and allowed me to let things be a little unfiltered, both sonically and lyrically.

William Baumler: We’re all in our 20s and 30s, so ask us again in, like, 70 years.

Your album’s title is obviously a tribute to the Yes song “Roundabout”. Did you ever consider referring to a Beach Boys or Li’l Bow Wow record instead?
WB: Is that a real question? Of course we considered those. But Chris Squire plays bass with a pick, just like our bass player, so “Roundabout” was a no-brainer. Our next album is going to be heavily influence by Lil Bow Wow’s song “Basketball.”

Which B-52s song did you most enjoy recording for this album?
WB: “Safety Dance”

Your release show also features a set by Twin Limb. Why don’t you like any other local bands?
MC: We only like to affiliate ourselves with bands that start with Tw, for the alliteration factor. It just looks better on a poster.

What’s it like to be a human in a band?
MC: Being in a band makes me feel more human. There’s nothing like playing music with your friends! By the way, I couldn’t write that first sentence without thinking of a ‘90s reference.

I was wondering about your process. How do you write and arrange your songs? And what were the recording sessions like for this album? How did it all come together?
WB: The long answer is that our process is pretty haphazard. We just start with a riff or a beat and build on it, and talk about where it should go and how it should be structured. It’s all very democratic. Each of us have fingerprints on all of these songs. The short answer is we drink for a few hours once or twice a week and then we have songs.

The recording sessions were great – everyone should be so lucky as to have the pleasure of working with (recording engineer) Trip Barriger (at Treehouse Audio). On several of the tracks, we recorded drums and bass first, then dubbed in the rest of the band in a second session. For the rest, we recorded live as a full band. The live recordings ended up being the smoother process of the two, on our end, but on the listening end you can’t really tell a difference. VT

For more information and sounds, visit twentyfirstcenturyfox.bandcamp.com.