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Pillow Queens on UWire
While grubbing El Chilito burritos and sipping Negro Modelo, local Austin band Pillow Queens gave a little insight into their past and present as well as their future intentions to make it big.
“The plan was always to get up on stage,” said bass guitarist Eric Loftis.
“We started out pretty easy, just jamming in my friend’s backyard in a tiny trailer,” said drummer Carolyn Cunningham, “but after a couple months, we started playing gigs.”
The foursome, including guitarists and vocalists Will Slack and Duncan Malashock, began playing music together almost two years ago and just released their debut album, “Kookoolegit,” with the Austin-based label Monofonus Press.
Monofonus Press is a multimedia organization that combines music, literature and visual art. Kookoolegit is accompanied by the short story “Clear Violet” by Karen Davidson.
“The authors, artists and musicians all support each other with their product,” said Cunningham.
Kookoolegit is a buoyant rock-party album sure to get you head-banging along in your car. The album compels you to dance around your room in your underwear like no one is watching with pulsating tracks like “Real Cool Head” and “Hot Song.” The life-sized beats supplement amusing story-telling for most of the album’s 12 tracks.
On a few tracks, like “Original Bad Boys of Crime,” the band seems to overpower the raspy vocals of Will Slack. But on the second track of the album, “Regional Flutes,” Slack’s vocals stand out alongside gentle guitar strokes in the beginning of the song and hold strong as the song heats up with escalating drum licks.
The band, which discovered its unexpected name while searching the lesbian profiles on Craigslist, likes to describes its genre of music as “garage animal.” The description fits with the rattling tracks “Animal Poseurs” and “Wild Kingdom.” The humorous, nonsensical lyrics describe people posing as different animals and conversations with a dog.
“I never write songs with words in mind; I usually just have an idea of what the music is trying to describe and the words will go along,” Slack said.
It’s hard to imagine the ingenious lyrics “I’m gonna break up this band, sail everyone’s ship so I can afford to snowboard indoors in the desert in Dubai. I’m gonna shave off this beard, sell a pint of my blood so I can look so porcelain pale in the highest hotel” for the clever song “Dubai-bai” were written to float along with an already-existing beat.
Pillow Queens’ CD release party at the Compound on East Fourth Street last Saturday drew a rowdy crowd, although the band says, “most our fans are our loyal friends – for now.”
After two years of music-making, the Pillow Queens have fine-tuned their musical styles and writing techniques to better compliment one another.
The confidence shows onstage as the Pillow Queens interact with each other and the audience in an energetic yet nonchalant manner.
Except for a few minor technical sound issues, the band rocked hard. Cunningham pounded the drums with all her might, and she never lost the rhythm, even as her glasses slid down her nose.
At the end of September, the Pillow Queens will head to the northeast for a 10-day tour for “Kookoolegit.”
The band said they have evolved since they first started jamming together in that tiny trailer.
“We would practice, drink beer and write songs. It was a lot more work than I expected it to be, but it was fun. I loved it – and I love it now,” Cunningham said.