Ume
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Ume

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Punk

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"Rolling Stone Feature 2011"

Who: Noise-rock trio led by husband-and-wife duo Eric Larson (bass) and Lauren Langner Larson (guitar, vocals), who met in Houston's grubby punk scene in the mid-Nineties before moving to Austin in 2006.

Sound: Distortion-heavy jams (and the whole marriage thing) invite comparisons to Sonic Youth, but Ume do more headbanging and wailing.

Punk Professor: During a band hiatus, Lauren worked toward a philosophy Ph.D. at Penn State, completing all of the requirements except her dissertation. "I taught ethics courses," she says, "but I was always running down to the basement to pick up my guitar." - Rolling Stone Magazine


"Myspoonful.com New Artist Feature 2011"

hometown: Austin Texas
categories: Garage, Indie Rock, Punk
for fans of: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sleater-Kinney, Joan Jett
why you should check them out:
Front woman Lauren Larson's maniacal guitar work, blistering chops and arresting charisma give every leading lady from Joan Jett to Karen O a run for their money, while resuscitating an arguably hibernating genre within the indie music circuit: pure rock and roll.
background check:
The roots of Ume (pronounced Ooo-May) span back to the members' high school years when bassist Eric Larson approached his future wife and leading vocalist at a skate park after an old Houston hardcore band of hers played a show. Years later the duo hooked up with drummer Jeff Barrarea to form a tenacious rock and roll threesome, which soon began tearing up Texan venues, until they eventually came to call the nation's music hub, Austin TX, home.

It's no surprise that Larson has been playing guitar since age 12; her addiction to the instrument (she once developed tendenotis from playing too much) is celebrated on stage in lush power chords, finespun traces of pop and a magnetic--cathartic almost--live show that's garnered the attention of Gang of Four’s Dave Allen, now both a champion and friend of the band.

Even before the release of their EP Sunshower, Ume has began taking their pulsating act outside of Texas, making waves at major music festivals such as CMJ. From a woman who compares writing music to eating and laughing, we are guaranteed this is just the beginning of the Fender wielding sprite and her noise pop trio's abrasive yet bewitching style that simultaneously pays homage to their punk roots while inciting a future generation of rock and roll. - Myspoonful.com


"AOL Spinner - Ume's Guitar Demon Steals Show at NXNE 2011"

Ume (pronounced ooo-may, def: sour Japanese plum) stepped on to the smallish Drake Underground stage Wednesday night (June 15) in Toronto and jumped right into a blazing thrash rock set that didn't let up until their 40 allocated NXNE minutes were spent.

The three-piece band from Austin consists of the blonde and willowy guitar demon Lauren Langer Larson and her husband and high-school sweetheart bassist Eric Larson, with the band's newest addition Rachel Fuhrer on drums.

From Larson's first hair-whipping headbang, it was clear that performing is an act of personal release (perhaps to counteract the bitter ume locked somewhere within her spirit).

"I've been playing in thrash and punk bands since I was 14," she tells Spinner. "My music is always deeply cathartic."

The guitarist played with such energy and finger dexterity that it seemed certain she'd trash her gear onstage. Though she and her bandmates held off, the tension was certainly there. Instead, the audience was treated to a total of four guitar changes over seven odd songs, which alternated from heavy, Refused-influenced riffs to gentler Blonde Red Head-inspired ballads, offering a teaser of their upcoming effort, 'Phantoms.'

It would have been nice to see more of the audience thrashing along to this rare appearance, but, this was a Wednesday night in Toronto after all, and NXNE has only just begun. - Spinner.com


"AOL Spinner - Ume's Guitar Demon Steals Show at NXNE 2011"

Ume (pronounced ooo-may, def: sour Japanese plum) stepped on to the smallish Drake Underground stage Wednesday night (June 15) in Toronto and jumped right into a blazing thrash rock set that didn't let up until their 40 allocated NXNE minutes were spent.

The three-piece band from Austin consists of the blonde and willowy guitar demon Lauren Langer Larson and her husband and high-school sweetheart bassist Eric Larson, with the band's newest addition Rachel Fuhrer on drums.

From Larson's first hair-whipping headbang, it was clear that performing is an act of personal release (perhaps to counteract the bitter ume locked somewhere within her spirit).

"I've been playing in thrash and punk bands since I was 14," she tells Spinner. "My music is always deeply cathartic."

The guitarist played with such energy and finger dexterity that it seemed certain she'd trash her gear onstage. Though she and her bandmates held off, the tension was certainly there. Instead, the audience was treated to a total of four guitar changes over seven odd songs, which alternated from heavy, Refused-influenced riffs to gentler Blonde Red Head-inspired ballads, offering a teaser of their upcoming effort, 'Phantoms.'

It would have been nice to see more of the audience thrashing along to this rare appearance, but, this was a Wednesday night in Toronto after all, and NXNE has only just begun. - Spinner.com


"WOXY - the 97 best of 2009"

Ume - Sunshower EP - #57! - WOXY.com


"Paste Magazine Live SXSW Review"

"Always the best part of these parties, as with the 21st Street Co-Op’s South By South Mess I hit, is the local talent owning the show. Austin’s Ume brought some of the most sultry garage pop since the Yeah Yeah Yeahs crowned Brooklyn king of the pulse, lead singer Lauren Larson bashing the guitar on her knees for kicks." - Paste Magazine South By South Mess Review - Paste Magazine


"Sunshower EP gets 4 STARS - Austin Chronicle"

A forcefully lusty, rich sonic mosaic, Ume's five-song Sunshower EP is a more polished version of its classically dark, serrated work. The local trio still plucks from a hearty buffet of influences, just a bit more discriminatingly. "East of Hercules" opens with vocalist Lauren Larson's panging guitar vista, nodding to the bombast of the Pretenders' early work with a more clandestine salute to Team Dresch. Hubby Eric Larson holds steady on bass throughout "Pendulum" and "The Conductor" as timing shifts and Jeff Barrera's sometimes-audacious drums peek out from behind the fairer Larson's aggressive bawls and strident riffs. The pretty intro on the subtly sexy title track imparts the smoky grace of its singer's vox and maintains a Sonic Youth thread, just as on "The Means," though both get stuck in the Blonde Redhead vocal camp. Sunshower demonstrates Ume's shift to a slightly more refined, though still amalgamated, sound as consistent as it is vanquishing. (CD release: Saturday, Jan. 24, Mohawk.)

****
http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/review?oid=oid%3A729323
- Austin Chronicle


"Sunshower EP gets 4 STARS - Austin Chronicle"

A forcefully lusty, rich sonic mosaic, Ume's five-song Sunshower EP is a more polished version of its classically dark, serrated work. The local trio still plucks from a hearty buffet of influences, just a bit more discriminatingly. "East of Hercules" opens with vocalist Lauren Larson's panging guitar vista, nodding to the bombast of the Pretenders' early work with a more clandestine salute to Team Dresch. Hubby Eric Larson holds steady on bass throughout "Pendulum" and "The Conductor" as timing shifts and Jeff Barrera's sometimes-audacious drums peek out from behind the fairer Larson's aggressive bawls and strident riffs. The pretty intro on the subtly sexy title track imparts the smoky grace of its singer's vox and maintains a Sonic Youth thread, just as on "The Means," though both get stuck in the Blonde Redhead vocal camp. Sunshower demonstrates Ume's shift to a slightly more refined, though still amalgamated, sound as consistent as it is vanquishing. (CD release: Saturday, Jan. 24, Mohawk.)

****
http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/review?oid=oid%3A729323
- Austin Chronicle


"Ume featured band Nov. 2010 West Coast Rumble Tour"

Ooo-yeah, Ume. Fresh off a big turn at CMJ, UME’S shared the stage with indie mainstays like Nada Surf, and The Dead Confederate and has even found a fan in Of Montreal guitarist, Bryan Poole. With Chromewaves calling their songs, “that balance sweet pop hooks with snarling heaviness, equal debts to punk, stoner, shoegaze and alt rock, insane guitar abuse/heroics,” it’s no wonder, UME’s “The Conducter” video has been in heavy rotation on MTVU.

Led by Lauren Langner Larson, UME live show must be witnessed with Pop Times Magazine noting, “hey were loud. So loud, they could make Nirvana seem fit to play a GOP fundraising cocktail…This is rock done right” and The Chicago Tribune writing,” the rep of thrashing Texan trio Ume is beginning to spread far beyond Texas, due to the band’s intense live shows.” - Future Sounds


"Irish Times gives Ume 4 STARS"

Ume (pronounced Ooo-may) are a Texan three-piece who earned rave reviews at SXSW last month. The Conductor is the lead single from their Sunflower EP. As well as being a talented performer, singer Lauren Langner Larson is rather photogenic to boot. Which is nice, given that her bandmates look like extras from Clerks.

www.myspace.com/umemusic - Irish Times


"SPIN picks Ume as "Undiscovered Band Worth A Listen""

Why we picked them: Snarling guitars, catchy melodies, and a sense of NYC cool -- straight from Texas!

SPIN picks Ume as "Undiscovered Band Worth a Listen!"

"Tonight at midnight (EST), Boston radio station WFNX will broadcast the sixth installment of the SPIN/Sonicbids Emerging Artists' Showcase, featuring seven cool unsigned bands from around the world, hand-picked by SPIN.com staffers from more than 500 submissions. (Tune in to 101.7 FM in the Boston area or listen live online via wfnx.com)."

Ume

Hometown: Austin, TX

Recommended if you like: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sonic Youth
- Spin.com


"Pop Times Review of Mercury Lounge CMJ Showcase 2010"

NEW YORK–Friday night at Mercury Lounge was the perfect way to spend day number four of CMJ 2010 because Nada Surf were scheduled at 1:00 in the morning. For me, though there were other great gigs happening that night, it was the gig to see and be seen. I mean, I love Nada Surf.

However, I left the Mercury Lounge at 9:30 PM already high with satisfaction. I only saw two female-fronted acts, and that was it. I didn’t even notice that I skipped the band I intended to see in the first place.

Well, maybe next time, Nada Surf. You can blame the two girls who opened the show Ume and Blair.

Ume, pronounced as “ooo-may,” is an alternative rock trio from Austin, Texas that is fronted by lead guitarist Lauren Larson and completed by Eric Larson on bass and Jeff Barrera on drums.



Ume are governed by contradiction and are thriving on it. What do I mean when I say this?



Ms. Larson is a woman who looks like an angel. Her face, with soft accents and long blond flowing hair is straight out of an El Greco painting of the heavenly court. She and her band were dressed like they were going to dish out a collection of Dolly Parton hits. Well, looks can deceive. The sound that they made was as molten as hell.



The seraph-like Ms. Larson and her band can produce music that is nothing short of an assault. They were loud. So loud, they could make Nirvana seem fit to play a GOP fundraising cocktail.



Ume were violently great. After their set, I was somewhat ready to leave because I kept hearing the sound of an old telephone ringing inside my cranium. I kept saying hello too.

I also checked my cellphone if it was making that sound, but it wasn’t.



This is rock done right.

- Pop Times Mag


"Fun Fun Fun Fest Review"

Fuck everyone who spent most of early Sunday afternoon nursing their hangovers. Actually, I just feel bad for them, because they missed Ume give one of the most killer sets of the weekend. If you're haven't seen Ume yet, you're kinda dumb and need to correct this as soon as possible. Amazingly, Ume has found a way to combine everything that was cool about mid-90s indie rock, but then they obliterate it in an electrical storm of fuzzy guitars and banshee shrieks. Frontwoman/guitarist Lauren Larson gets most of the band's attention, which is one of those things that everyone who's seen them just says Duh to. She's so staggeringly crush worthy: part ultra-chic Kim Gordon, part guitar goddess, and all with the precious looks of a dainty French folk singer. She propels the band's songs into beautifully cacophonic realms while keeping everything grounded in the real world with physical primacy and sex appeal. But really, bassist Eric Larson (that's her husband, fellas) and drummer Jeff Barrera deserve to be recognized as one of the tightest rhythm sections in town, or shit, anywhere else. Make note, Ume are a band to be taken very seriously. - Travis Acevedo

http://loconunca.com/articles/1108/fff2.html - Loca Nunca


"Soundcheck Magazine Feature"

Review: Ume @ The Mohawk in Austin, TX; 1.24.2009

words by Lawrence Boone
photos by Randy Cremean

The timing of Ume's CD release show could not have been better. In the years between their latest offering, the shimmering five-track Sunshower EP, and their debut album released in 2005, the band has had time to perfect their formula to create a sound that is not only impressive in a live setting, but in the studio as well. The trio captivated an overflow crowd at the Mohawk on Saturday night, with a full-on rock assault led by the unrivaled stage presence of fiery frontwoman Lauren Larson.

Upon wrapping a guitar around her petite frame, Larson transformed from an unassuming audience member into a fierce, howling blur of angst-driven guitar riffs and undeniable sex appeal. With her bassist (and husband) Eric Larson and drummer Jeff Barrera supplying an aggressive rhythm section, Larsen began swinging her golden hair around in wild circles while shredding like few female rock guitarists can. This is part of the must-see quality that makes an Ume live performance such a hot ticket.

Debuting material from the new EP, Larson's voice shifts from a hushed whisper to an intense wail, layering melodic hooks over aggressive guitar riffs. Between each song the crowd yells loudly in appreciation, many attempting to push their way closer to the stage. By the time they get to standout tracks like "The Conductor", which builds into an all-out aural attack by the song's end, Ume has the crowd right where they want them. The band has really progressed over the past couple of years with its affect on their audience...being nearly knocked to the floor by an impromptu mosh pit and hearing fans shout song requests and demanding an encore....well that's where they are now.

Whereas before Ume might have had to grow their fan base by wowing newcomers at a live show, they now have an impressive studio offering that can propel them to the next level. This EP will undoubtedly further Ume's reputation outside of the Austin music scene, and based on shows like the one they put on at the Mohawk to celebrate their CD release, this band is ready to receive all of the attention they deserve.

http://www.soundcheckmagazine.com/featured-content/1517-concert-ume-mohawk-01242009 - Soundcheck Magazine


"Soundcheck Magazine Feature"

Review: Ume @ The Mohawk in Austin, TX; 1.24.2009

words by Lawrence Boone
photos by Randy Cremean

The timing of Ume's CD release show could not have been better. In the years between their latest offering, the shimmering five-track Sunshower EP, and their debut album released in 2005, the band has had time to perfect their formula to create a sound that is not only impressive in a live setting, but in the studio as well. The trio captivated an overflow crowd at the Mohawk on Saturday night, with a full-on rock assault led by the unrivaled stage presence of fiery frontwoman Lauren Larson.

Upon wrapping a guitar around her petite frame, Larson transformed from an unassuming audience member into a fierce, howling blur of angst-driven guitar riffs and undeniable sex appeal. With her bassist (and husband) Eric Larson and drummer Jeff Barrera supplying an aggressive rhythm section, Larsen began swinging her golden hair around in wild circles while shredding like few female rock guitarists can. This is part of the must-see quality that makes an Ume live performance such a hot ticket.

Debuting material from the new EP, Larson's voice shifts from a hushed whisper to an intense wail, layering melodic hooks over aggressive guitar riffs. Between each song the crowd yells loudly in appreciation, many attempting to push their way closer to the stage. By the time they get to standout tracks like "The Conductor", which builds into an all-out aural attack by the song's end, Ume has the crowd right where they want them. The band has really progressed over the past couple of years with its affect on their audience...being nearly knocked to the floor by an impromptu mosh pit and hearing fans shout song requests and demanding an encore....well that's where they are now.

Whereas before Ume might have had to grow their fan base by wowing newcomers at a live show, they now have an impressive studio offering that can propel them to the next level. This EP will undoubtedly further Ume's reputation outside of the Austin music scene, and based on shows like the one they put on at the Mohawk to celebrate their CD release, this band is ready to receive all of the attention they deserve.

http://www.soundcheckmagazine.com/featured-content/1517-concert-ume-mohawk-01242009 - Soundcheck Magazine


"Sound on the Sound Reviews Rumble Seattle Show"

Gentlemen, Ume is playing some unbelievable new material and this is the best you can do? Cat call to the attractive lead singer? Never been done before! Trendsetter alert! One of you has a gut that is greater in stature then she is. I’d ask if you were in the third trimester but you are a man. Embarrassing. The other one of you is the size of a Pokemon. In a world where extremely short men get no love, what can you do? Perhaps you can buy all the merch Ume owns and be a touring band sugar daddy. You’ve got to aim high. After the show the two men went to Cowgirls to engage in more fruitless cat-calling. Maybe.

Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum were pretty entertaining, Ume was much more so. Great set. It was somewhat short and they didn’t end up playing The Means but I’ll survive. The band will have a new record out during the early months of 2011. Judging by some of the excellent new tunes, it’s going to be much better than the Sunshowers EP. I really like that record. Ume’s new album should be on your most anticipated releases of 2011 list. - Sound on the Sound


"Brooklyn Vegan CMJ Party Review"

Ume started the day with their poppy and suprisingly heavy take on 90s post-punk that is both powerful and charming. Outside of her devilish coo, Lauren is an enigmatic guitarist; all flailing hair, swinging arms, and wild movements. If this band didn't have such catchy songs, you'd probably be content just watching. - Brooklynvegan.com


"Chromewaves NXNE Feature"

...And I suppose I got my big pleasant surprise of the festival a couple days ago when I got an email from Austin trio Ume informing me they’d be coming to town for NxNE. Ume, you may or may not recall, were one of the best things I saw at SxSW back in March – a trio led by the guitar heroics of Lauren Larson who balanced pop hooks and sweet female vocals with crazy heavy riffing. I had thought I was going to have to wait until next Spring to see them again, the odds of them touring all the way up here seemed beyond remote but hey, here they come. They’ll be playing Neutral on Thursday the 18th at 10PM – not sure what else is going on that night at that time, the festival schedule is still forthcoming, but I can tell you right now that this will be one of the best bets for that night, if not the whole weekend. They’ve got a couple releases – a 2005 album in Urgent Sea which is decidedly rougher and heavier than their new most excellent Sunshower EP – also check out their SxSW WOXY session. And it’s pronounced “ooo-may”, which you’ll need to know for when people ask you what was the best new thing you saw at NxNE was. - Chromewaves.net


"Austin Sound Rave Review of Sunshower EP"

January may seem a bit early to declare the best record of 2009, but I am prepared to set caution aside and predict that this time next year UME will be topping best-of lists. The band's new EP, Sunshower is at once beautiful, brutal, flawlessly executed, and completely unpretentious. It's the type of record that grabs the listener immediately and demands repeated listens. It's the whole package – as close to a perfect rock record as has come out of Austin (or anywhere for the matter) in quite some time. Like all great bands, UME's sound is impossible to nail down in simple terms. They are shredding guitars and vocals that shift from beautiful whispers to raspy growls. They merge the anthemic and with the intimate — sometimes delicate and sometimes explosive.

Vocalist Lauren Langner Larson is a petite blonde and bears a more-than-passing resemblance to Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon - but the SY similarities really do end there. UME is far more melodic than Sonic Youth (they even make their walls of noisy guitars sound pleasing to the ear somehow) and while Sonic Youth is sometimes too weird for mass consumption, UME's music is so instantly likeable that it will not alienate any listeners. The band runs contrary to a lot of modern musical trends, and is in many ways a throwback to the 1990s, without ever sounding derivative. Where increasing instrumentation (synths, auxiliary percussion, and so on) are becoming the norm, UME is stripped down by comparison, making a mountain of sound as just a three piece – guitar, bass, and drums. It is a formula so simple and timeless, and yet somehow original.

UME wastes no time – the EP's post-punk opening track, "East of Hercules", erupts out of the speakers with blasts of loud guitars and a frantic momentum (laid down by the band's stellar rhythm section, bassist Eric Larson and drummer Jeff Barrera). Lauren Langner Larson’s vocal delivery is beautiful and aggressive, her playful phrasing twists in and out of the song's rhythm. "Sunshower" is a slower track, that builds to an enormous chorus. The quiet-loud dynamic and the interplay between the guitar and bass sounds faintly reminiscent of Trail of Dead's Madonna album. "Conductor" is the record’s strongest song. It is three minutes of insane energy, pounding toms, and guitar shredding that slides into a dreamy chorus and then into a wall of raging cymbals and guitar noise. The melody is so catchy and irresistible that it will stick with you long after listening. This aggressive, pop-rock anthem demonstrates what UME sounds like at the top of their game. The record’s closer, "Pendulum", is another highlight with just as much energy and melody as everything else on Sunshower. Frenchie Smith’s production really helps this song sparkle, bringing out both the delicate beauty of the verses and the massive guitar-rock choruses.

The only complaint I have about this EP is that it is too short. I am anxious to see exactly how UME's passion, energy and authenticity will translate on a longer release. Only time will tell. But either way, Sunshower is an important record for UME. It is the point at which they went from being one of Austin's biggest potentials, to being one of Austin’s best bands. - Austin Sound


"Ume in Dave Allen's (Gang of Four) Blog"

Ume - I Love Being Side-Swiped

"How could I have not known about Ume? An Austin trio fronted by a whirling dervish of singer guitarist who in the standard PR band head shot looks like she wouldn't hurt a fly; yet give her a guitar, a Marshall stack and a mic and stand back, way back. She shreds. They have been around since 2003, have an album out called Urgent Sea [buy it here] and according to their 'Space have new music coming soon. I found these guys via the Dead Confederate tour blog as it appears that the two bands were on the same bill down there in Austin, TX. File under - Do Not Overlook and Go Tell Your Friends…" - Pampelmoose.com


"Brooklyn Vegan CMJ 2010 Feature"

Ume played a Relix party (pics), play NYC again tonight

photos by Chris La Putt

Ume

Ume ended up playing more than one CMJ show afterall. Pictures in this post from a Relix Mag party for their new Keith Richards issue that took place Wednesday at Touring Company in NYC (440 Broadway and Howard). Catch the rocking Austin band tonight at Mercury Lounge and on tour. More pictures below...
- Brookylnvegan.com


"CMJ Ume Feature and Review"

"Straight from Austin’s fertile post-rock scene, home of genre stalwarts Trail Of Dead and Explosions In The Sky, shoegazers Ume (say that “oo-may”) sound a lot bigger than a typical rock trio. Fronted by petite Kim Gordon-esque bombshell Lauren Larson, the energetic band, teetering on a rail between poppy ’90s alt-rock and a noise-focused sonic assault, are only on their second EP. On the slow-burning bipolar jam “The Conductor” Larson’s sultry, echoing vocals—ranging from a sing-song melodic instrument to a barely audible near-whisper—are second only to the song’s bombastic instrumental pomp. Math breakdown punctuate rip-roaring guitar driven “The Means,” and the repetitive yet subtle hooks of closer “Pendulum” display Ume’s ability to manipulate the standard pop-rock sounds without becoming a cliché. They’ve found their feet on a nice middle ground—in Sunshower’s five short, exquisitely polished tracks, Ume delivers a dynamic rock aesthetic that doesn’t rest upon classic three-chord rock-n-roll haunches." - Lisa Hresko, CMJ - CMJ.com


"CMJ Sonicbids Spotlight Artist"

http://prod1.cmj.com/articles/display_article.php?iSonicbids Spotlight: Ume
Apr 24, 2009
Story by: Joe Puglisi

Texas is the home of barbecue, Tex-Mex, cowboy boots and some of the best indie tunesmiths south of the Mason-Dixon. This week's Sonicbids winner is one of those bands: Ume, an awesome trio of rockers from Austin fronted by an energetic frontwoman. Ume plays crushing indie rock that's melodically thick with plenty of distorted fuzz. The influence of grind-core is audible, but not overwhelming; think of it it as "indie-core" because it's heavy without harsh overtones.

Bassist Eric Larson met Lauren Langner (later to become Lauren Langner Larson) at a skateboarding grindcore show when she was only 15, playing with her old band. Lauren looks innocent enough in person, but according to Gang Of Four's Dave Allen, a guitar and a Marshall stack bumps her up to "Do not overlook and go tell your friends." Her voice is as frenetic as the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O, but at times as gentle as Neko Case.

The band formed in 2002, several years after Eric and Lauren first met, with the addition of drummer Jeff Barrera. After a show in Brooklyn, New York-based label Pretty Activity signed the trio and released their debut, Urgent Sea, in 2005, and earlier this year they released their latest studio work, The Sunshower EP. d=126047978 - CMJ


"Ume Vs Prince: Who Rules?"

The rep of thrashing Texan trio Ume is beginning to spread far beyond Texas, due to the band's intense live shows and debut EP, "Sunshowers." Frontwoman/guitarist Lauren Larson's dissonant, jagged guitar lines are smothered in distortion, and her guitar heroism (or heroine-ism?) is smoothed out by her powerful, melodic vocals. The band's terse, muscular backbone pulls from the artier and more progressive side of punk and indie rock -- but Larson's voice and guitar hooks give the songs a pop punch.

But in every article, review or blog blurb about Ume, the writer remarks on Larson's petite stature, good looks and ability to shred on her guitar, as if the three are some impossible trinity. Yet another person is in possession of those three qualities: Prince.

"I think the same thing. No one is ever surprised he's short and can play," says Larson, who is on the road with her band. So let's see how she stacks up to his Purpleness. - Chicago Tribune


Discography

Phantoms, LP, Modern Outsider, Aug 30th, 2011
Sunshower EP, self-released, Feb. 24th, 2009

Photos

Bio

At the front of the stage, Lauren Larson wrangles her guitar. She bends the strings, attacks chords, her fingers blurred as they feverishly travel up and down the neck doling out lick after melodic lick while her hair whips and spins and she explodes with each blast of the drummer’s crashing cymbals. On stage, the unassuming 5-foot-2 frontwoman towers, rendered gargantuan by the ferocity of her guitar work and the propulsive power of her band Ume (pronounced ooo-may). Conjuring deft arpeggios and spacey solos from her electric with an unbridled intensity, Lauren’s electrifying energy stirs up the sonic cyclone released by the Austin-based noise rock trio anchored by her husband Eric Larson’s growling, rumbling bass and their new powerhouse drummer Rachel Fuhrer’s hard-hit thundering rhythms. Call it intelligent punk, meticulous garage rock, or hyperactive shoegaze, the music of Ume is an amped-up soundstorm emboldened by contradictions.

Exploring the artier and heavier sides of indie rock, post-punk and alternative rock, the power trio marries searing and soaring fretwork with indelible pop hooks, radiant choruses and Lauren’s gossamer (and sometimes guttural) vocals. Ume’s music is one of beautiful juxtapositions: the loud and the soft, the aggressive and the ethereal, buoyant melodies bursting through wall-of-noise dissonance. "Distortion-heavy jams (and the whole marriage thing) invite comparisons to Sonic Youth, but Ume do more headbanging and wailing,” Rolling Stone exclaimed while declaring them one of the 16 best unsigned acts in the country prior to their signing earlier this year. While critics will inevitably clamor for comparisons, Ume is ultimately a beast unto itself.

Formed in Houston in 2006, Ume have earned their stripes the old fashioned way, hitting the road and tearing down clubs with one incendiary concert after another. The three-piece throws themselves into every performance, whether playing a basement party or a festival and have earned a reputation for unleashing behemoth live shows. Rock icon Joan Jett, Gang Of Four’s Dave Allen and Of Montreal’s Bryan Poole all became championing fans and believers after witnessing the band’s sonic conflagration onstage. “Lauren is an enigmatic guitarist; all flailing hair, swinging arms, and wild movements,” Brooklyn Vegan proclaimed, adding: “If this band didn't have such catchy songs, you'd probably be content just watching.”

With Phantoms, their full-length barn-burner, Ume has harnessed their carefully crafted chaos into ten tracks that captures the unhinged passion and raw catharsis of their live shows while pushing their ever-evolving sound to impressive new heights. Like a bridge between Black Sabbath and Bat For Lashes, the LP is heavy, anthemic, beautiful and mesmerizing. Heaviness and weightlessness coexist throughout, as Lauren’s beguiling vocals float atop a tidal wave of sound. “This album is filled with more hooks, heartache and harmonies than anything we have ever done,” Lauren reveals, and it is readily apparently. A newfound pop songcraft imbues the songs, balancing guitar squall and adroit technicality with sugary melodies.

The album is a stunning progression for the band as it sees them honing their dichotomous sound and exploring new vocal and musical territory. Lauren wafts her delicate voice over dexterous riffage on “Rubicon while “Destroyer” wanders through an arpeggiated post-rock dreamscape. Several tracks such as “The Push” are colored by flourishes of synth, a new addition to the band’s arsenal that adds a dramatic layer to the record. The band also advances their sound by practicing patient restraint as evidenced in the smokey Ennio Morricone-inspired album acoustic closer, “The Task.” The song features a finger-picked acoustic guitar and spaghetti-western style trumpet with Lauren’s hushed vocals, proving that Ume's music is equally compelling whether behind a wall of noise or stripped down.

Before Ume started steamrolling audiences and critics with their frenetic rock, the band came from a humble beginning.

It all began with a girl, a guitar, and a skateboard ramp.

“I started playing when I was about 14,” Lauren says. “We were all part of a DIY youth punk scene in Houston; I was in a grindcore band called Twelve Blades and we were playing on a vert ramp and I was making guitar noise with my head down. After our show, Eric was the first guy to ever talk to me and we’ve been making music since.”

Eric and Lauren got married and formed Ume a few years later with original drummer Jeff Barrera, thrashing and banging heads, until another calling put the band on hold. Lauren was accepted into a philosophy PhD program, and hit the pause button on Ume. But through those years in Pennsylvania, the fire of Ume still burned in the back Lauren’s mind.

“I was always balancing my nerdy academic side with my musical side. When I’d finish a paper, I’d immediately pick up my guitar. I remember profe