Ten years ago, the Buffalo-based indie rock act Lemuria issued its promising debut album, Get Better
. A collection of prickly rock tunes that showcase both drummer Alexander Kerns and guitarist Sheena Ozzella’s abilities to sing, the album established the group, which sounds a bit like the Juliana Hatfield-led Blake Babies, as part of the burgeoning indie rock circuit.
Now, the band has issued a special edition packaging of the album with new artwork, an essay reflecting on the album’s creation and a bonus 7-inch including the outtake tracks that didn't make it onto the album. At the Feb. 9 show at the Grog Shop, the band will play the album in its entirety along with a few rare tracks and some new tunes.
Kerns recently spoke to us via phone and talked about each track on Get Better
It’s more of a crush song than a love song. It’s about how something never came out of a relationship. Even though it’s the first song, it was an oasis when we were writing the album because a lot of the songs are darker. We thought, “Let’s just kick the album off with it and then move on to the miserable songs about death."
Right before the album came out, my dad had died, so a lot of the songs are about that and the unexpected things you have to deal with. You don’t just get to mourn. You have to deal with family issues. My dad came from a big family and had nine siblings and there are a couple of stinkers in there. Those people just showed up out of nowhere. The song’s opening line is “You were only there because you shared the DNA.” It’s a fair weather family. They showed up for the funeral, and I’ve never heard from them again. I don’t think they even know I play in a band.
That one can be interpreted a lot of different ways. Sheena wrote some wild guitar notes that are layered on top of each other. And for this tour, we have a fourth member playing with us and it really works live on this tour.
It’s just an anxiety song about being in a band time and turning to drinking and drugs was the worst thing but so tempting because it was all I was around. I thought I’d temporarily fit in and adapt to the situation. Usually, I try to get Sheena to sing every song because she has a better voice. But if it’s too personal, like this song, she prefers that we sing it together.
That’s similar to “Yesterday’s Lunch” in a way. The setting is around my dad’s funeral. It and Hawaiian T-shirt are similar too. They’re about. It’s cleaning stuff out and deciding what stays and what goes as far as clothes and furniture go. It’s about the aftermath.
Sheena wrote it and it was about being in a long-distance relationship while you’re in a band. You never get to see each other. That’s the life of playing in a band. It’s difficult.
That’s all Sheena playing guitars. I think it’s also about struggling to be in a relationship.
It’s a continuation of “Dog.” I came in and wrote my take on the topic. They kind of blend together.
“Get Some Sleep”
Sheena wrote the music for it and our old bass player wrote half the lyrics and I wrote half the lyrics. It’s about looking for tomorrow and realizing the sun is going to rise and that sometimes when thing go badly, you just have to start fresh.
My dad had lots of Hawaiian shirts. The last time I saw my dad, we went to Hawaii for two weeks. He was so into drugs and drinking, so it wasn’t the best trip because I was a bit of a babysitter.
It’s hard to describe. It’s about how as you get older, you whittle down your friendships to your core group. There were people who were so negative and there’s a line in the song about gossipy adolescent behavior and trying to separate yourself from that.
I’m pretty sure it’s about the same guy from Sheena’s other songs. From the lyrics, you can tell she just wants him to shut up.
Lemuria, Cayetana, Mikey Erg, 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, Grog Shop, 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588. Tickets: $12 ADV, $14 DOS, grogshop.gs.