Nashville band *repeat repeat brings ‘surf rock candy’ to the Burl


*repeat repeat plays at The Burl in Lexington, Kentucky, on Sept. 7, 2017. 

Tre Lyerly

Nashville surf rock band *repeat repeat stopped at the Burl in Lexington’s Distillery District Thursday evening to play a combination of new tracks and earlier entries from their discography for a small yet enthusiastic crowd.

Touring in support of their upcoming album Floral Canyon, *RR was accompanied by the heavy lo-fi vibes of Lexington trio Sweet Country Meat Boys and the new wave inspired sound of Brooklyn synth-rock duo the Fantastic Plastics.

Based on the east side of Music City, *repeat repeat is fronted by lead guitarist and vocalist Jared Corder, who’s accompanied by his wife Kristyn Corder on synths and backup vocals, and drummer Andy Herrin. The band self-released their first album, Bad Latitude, in 2014, and have spent their time since then crafting a worthy follow-up and hitting the road with Philadelphia punk-rock outfit Beach Slang.

While *RR hails from Tennessee, they’re no strangers to the Kentucky music scene — the first live show they ever played was in Bowling Green, and Lexington’s own Green Lantern was a stop on one of the band’s first tours.

With a sound described as “surf rock candy” by Kristyn, *RR’s music is often defined by its combination of lighter pop ideas — including harmonies between Jared and Kristyn and catchy melodies — with harder elements more common to the punk and surf rock scenes, like distorted guitar interludes and kinetic drum patterns.

The new album by the band takes the idea of blending opposites further by applying it to the presentation as well, including the name of the record, which was inspired by LA’s Laurel Canyon, a hub for the counterculture movements of the late 60s.

“It was kinda this juxtaposition of Sixties hippie culture, free love and peace, but also toward the end of the Sixties, the Manson murders happened,” Jared said. “I feel like our record kinda has a feel in that there’s a lot of sunshine and love, but we do hit on some heavier themes and have kind of a spooky tinge to the sound.”

It’s a sound that grew out of the tastes and upbringings of the trio. Jared grew up with punk rock bands like NOFX and the Ramones, while Kristyn was raised on melodic pop, including acts like the Beach Boys and the Everly Brothers. Andy, meanwhile, was inspired by the alternative rock sounds of 1990s bands like Nada Surf and Superdrag.

“I feel like we’ve kinda mashed all three of those, between the fierce punk element, to the actual song structure itself and melodicism, to the big harmonies and the boy-girl, sing-songy feel to it. It’s seemed to stick,” Jared said.

One major step in landing at their desired sound was an early shared experience where Jared, Kristyn and Andy took magic mushrooms together and listened to a long playlist full of their favorite tunes and odd commercials from the mid-20th century.

“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh, what a relief it is,” Kristyn said, reciting lines from an Alka-Seltzer ad.

The band’s fondness for quirky product marketing actually inspired their identity, too. “The name came about from a shampoo bottle I saw. It said, ‘lather, rinse,’ and then at the bottom it said, ‘*repeat, repeat,’” Jared said.

Originally the band kept both the asterisk and the comma, but after a while they realized it would be hard for many to remember that much punctuation.

“It’s also really obnoxious, it’s not only about people’s memories,” Kristyn chimed in. “Two punctuation marks in one band name is a little much.”

“We call it the pain in the asterisk,” Jared said.

Floral Canyon, the band’s sophomore effort, will be their first major release on Dangerbird, an influential indie label counting successful acts like Hot Hot Heat, Silversun Pickups, Minus the Bear and Fitz and the Tantrums among its alumni. Even with a new home, though, the band hasn’t had much trouble with making the jump from self-publishing their work.

“It just feels like there’s more people, there’s a team involved now,” Andy said. “There’s a chance to reach a broader audience without us having to work as hard to get it out there.”

“It’s exciting, but once we signed with them, that’s when the real work started,” Jared added. “You do have these moments where you have little delusions of grandeur, and you’re like, ‘oh, now we’re signed, this is gonna be huge,’ but you wake up the next day and you still have to prove yourself.”

Floral Canyon releases physically and digitally next Friday, Sept. 15, via Dangerbird Records. In addition to their music, the band releases the “*repeat repeat podcast podcast” twice a month on their SoundCloud.