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Tilly and the Wall


What? Recognized as the band with a tap dancer instead of a drummer, Team Love’s flagship kid-spirit act Tilly and the Wall — see debut LP Wild Like Children, Sesame Street appearance, etc. — are always ones to disguise their sweet cheerleader-harmonies in tales of disillusionment and unrequited love. And what began as lo-fi sessions in Conor Oberst’s basement graduated to the Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) production treatment and has now become O, the outfit’s third full-length due June 17.

Textures abound under the Mogis helm. Jamie Pressnall’s tap fills thunder over conventional drums, and oodles of guitar effects support electronic tinkerings and vocal overdubs. Case in point: “Pot Kettle Black.” “[We were] naturally going in a way to try and make it more one kind of sound,” Derek Pressnall, also of Flowers Forever, told “We were consciously thinking about how we want to have drums, taps, and electronics all happening at once, without you thinking there’s drums, taps, and electronic beats all going on at once.” Trickery indeed, but sonic deception never sounded so good.

Who? Georgia-bred transplants Derek Pressnall (guitar) and Nick White (keys) melded into the remnants of Conor Oberst’s first band, Park Ave., accruing the talents of Jamie Pressnall (now Derek’s wife on tap shoe) and Neely Jenkins (vocals).Kianna Alarid (vocals/bass) was drawn from fellow Omaha collective, Magic Kiss. All five share songwriting duties.

Fun Fact: O‘s opener, “Tall Tall Grass,” was a troublesome tune dating back to the band’s first EP — never fleshed out until now. Derek explains to “It finally came alive. I have a personal connection to that song. It’s like the story of our band, emotionally and lyrically. But it’s also a love song to music. And a love song to friendship. And a love song to a lover.”

Now Hear This: “Pot Kettle Black” (DOWNLOAD MP3)

More Tilly and the Wall on
Tilly and the Wall Unveil ‘O’
SXSW 2008 Portrait Gallery
Tilly and the Wall Tour, Play ‘Sesame Street’
SXSW ’08: Tilly and the Wall live review + video
SXSW ’07 interview: Tilly and the Wall