It's tough to place Lemuria in the landscape of indie rock: While the Buffalo-based band's music isn't contemporary and trendy, it's not exactly a throwback. The best reference points for the three-piece are '90s and early-'00s indie bands; while it's clearly not cutting-edge, is a band that sounds kind of like Sleater-Kinney, or even Dinosaur Jr., really considered retro?
The inevitable comparison is to Rainer Maria, but Lemuria's songs aren't the sometimes-overwrought poetry-major material we remember that band for. Instead, Lemuria's lyrics are simple but creative: "I am hinting hard / I am a hard hinter / I am a pleaser / And I'm hinting hard," sings Sheena Ozella in "Pleaser," repeating the sequence until the line seems tautological and mantra-like.
The band started in 2004, with Ozella on guitar and vocals and Alex Kearns covering drums, vocals and most of the songwriting duties. After a series of bass player entrances and exits, Max Gregor took over the duties. Lemuria has released numerous 7-inch singles (thanks in part to Kerns' position running the label Art of the Underground) and, in 2008, issued an LP, First Collection, on Asian Man Records.
The band's forthcoming album, Pebble, has a pop sound at its core, without being overly sugary. Recorded with J. Robbins, the album will be issued by Bridge 9, a label known more for New York hardcore, like Agnostic Front and H2O, than for poppy rock with dueling boy/girl vocals. Sound aside, though, the band's DIY ethic (several of the band's past Pittsburgh shows were at the Mr. Roboto Project) jibes well with that of a hardcore label.
Pebble represents a shift in sound for the band: Less pop-punk and more complicated time-changes and brooding introspection color the LP (though not to the point of making it drag, or making it a drag). Upbeat but not escapist, the album contains plenty of spatial exploration, both geographic ("Yellowstone Lady" and "Chautauqua County" are two track titles) and metaphoric ("Inside your ribcage / Everybody is good," goes the chorus of "Ribcage"). It's head-bobbing music, maybe, but with thoughtful and thought-provoking lyricism.
Lemuria will be in good company when the band plays Garfield Artworks on Tue., Dec. 28: The show also features White Wives, a new band comprising members of Anti-Flag, The Code, American Armada and Dandelion Snow.
Lemuria with White Wives, American War and Run Forever 7 p.m. Tue., Dec. 28. Garfield Artworks, 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $6. 412-361-2262 or www.garfieldartworks.com