Betty Iron Thumbs
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Betty Iron Thumbs

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Alternative Indie




"Betty Iron Thumbs: Playing like a girl, loud and proud"

Published: June 02, 2011 9:12 p.m.
Last modified: June 02, 2011 9:16 p.m.
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In 2004, Katie Morrison answered Michael Long’s Craigslist add on a whim. The 20-year-old Drexel student was a trained violist. She had never played the guitar seriously, but the idea of rocking out in a pop-punk band was just too much to resist.

Eight years later, Morrison’s country twang (she’s from southern Virginia) has completely transformed the band. In order to mark the shift, they changed their name from My Compass Spins to Betty Irons Thumbs in 2007. A self-released EP, “Sit and Wait,” soon followed, with Morrison and Long sharing the tune-making duties equally.

But this weekend, as BIT releases their first full-length, “Under the Night,” Morrison will take center stage. She authored eight of the 12 songs, and the record is simply teeming with her raw lyrical tales of seduction and betrayal.

“When I started it was just a therapeutic thing — to get it down on paper. I’m always drawn to really honest artists. I think that’s always where I lean,” says Morrison, now a graduate student at Drexel. “I come off pretty strong to people. I have a cocky attitude. But, you know, people that are strong-willed are self-conscious and have their doubts about themselves.”

Now hear this

Musically, “Under the Night” is shooting for a unique blend of rural and urban jangles.

Underlying many of Morrison’s Lucinda Williams-esque twangs are the driving riffs of Long’s Social Distortion-inspired arrangements. “I don’t know what we are,” says Morrison. “It just sort of comes together in a garage, country, punk-y kinda thing.”

Betty Iron Thumbs
Friday, 9 p.m., The Tritone, 1508 South St., $5

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- Metro Philadelphia

"CONCERT PHOTOS: Sugar Town’s 10th Anniversary @ Tritone 1/30"

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

I caught only a portion of Sugar Town’s sold-out 10th anniversary show at Tritone on Saturday, but it was awesome. Totally crowded, sweaty and upbeat. The premise, as we talked about last week with Sugar Town founder Sara Sherr, was local artists teaming up to pay tribute to other big time artists. Of the ones I saw, Betty Iron Thumbs doing Cyndi Lauper. Totally nailed the spirit and the notes. Heard amazing things about Electrelane and B-52’s tributes. Were you there? What were your favorite moments? - Philadelphia City Paper: Critical Mass

"Listen to twang core band Betty Iron Thumbs’ new album"

Self-proclaimed twang core band Betty Iron Thumbs will release its second album, Teeth, on Friday, June 13. The tracks on the new album have elements of punk, folk and country to them with each track leaning heavily on one of the three genres. The Philly-based band was able to give each individual track its own identity — no two song sound the same. The album is currently available for streaming on the band’s bandcamp page here. Betty Iron Thumbs will have a release show Friday, June 13 at Milkboy Philadelphia. For tickets and more information, check out the Facebook event page and watch the music video for the single, “Crazy,” below. - The Key / WXPN


Sit and Wait, EP, 2007

Under the Night, LP, 2011

Teeth, LP, 2014



Betty Iron Thumbs is the Philly based songwriting duo of Katie Morrison and Mike Long who both sing and play guitar.  Morrison also contributes viola.  Jaison Smulski is on bass, and Ryan Stump is on drums.

With Teeth, Betty Iron Thumbs’ sound has grown since their last LP Under the Night, but includes an occasional throw back to their original lo-fi folky style of their first EP, Sit and Wait.   Teeth exhibits a range of sounds from quirky folk (Promise Land and Stuck Around) to indie pop (Figure Out, Crazy and Designs of Your Mind) to garage rock (Animal, Push Push Push, and Teeth.)  The title track serves as an album standout, pairing Morrison's searing songwriting with Long's haunting slide guitar against the hard driving rhythm of Smulski and Stump.

Betty Iron Thumbs’ sound on Teeth can be described as the Violent Femmes meets Rilo Kiley meets Tegan and Sara.  Morrison and Long combine brutally honest lyrics with catchy melodies, and the band’s sound provides a fresh, fly-off-the-rails punch.  


Band Members