not the first time Williams has donned tap shoes in a band. She
put on the clappers as a member of Park Ave.,
a now-legendary project that included Bright Eyes' mastermind Conor
Oberst, The Faint's Clarke Baechle and fellow Tilly and the Wall
member singer/percussionist Neely Jenkins. Another tap-supported
band was Magic Kiss, a combo that included
Tilly percussionist/vocalist Kianna Alarid.
"After Magic Kiss
broke up, Kianna and I were still writing songs and I wanted to
do something with Neely," Williams said.
Enter old friends guitarist/vocalist
Derek Pressnall and keyboardist Nick White, refugees of Dunwoody,
Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta), who had been lured to Omaha by the
burgeoning indie music scene and the promise of free room and board.
"They would drop by my place to watch episodes of Dawson's
Creek," Alarid said. "We began hanging together as a gang."
The ensemble made its
stage debut at an open-mike night at The Ranch Bowl two years ago.
Since then, they've experienced the extremes of touring, playing
sold-out shows opening for Bright Eyes (White is one of that band's
rotating members) and for fewer than 10 people opening for Chicago's
Head of Femur.
"It doesn't really
matter how big the crowd is," Alarid said. "We play because
we love to get up there."
"The idea is to make it a performance that's fun to watch while
we're having fun ourselves," Williams said. "If you have
fun on stage, so will the people in the crowd."
The liveliness of their
stage performance has translated well to recordings. The band's
self-released 6-song demo Woo!, recorded in Conor Oberst's
basement studio, has managed to generate a buzz mostly through word
of mouth. It caught the ear of Southern California's Rue Royale
Records, who is putting out the band's three-song single, which
is celebrating its release Nov. 1 at Sokol Underground.
Recorded in the home
studio of Stephen Pedersen (Criteria)
and mixed by A.J. Mogis, the single is more of the same Tilly hi-jinx
marked by jangly acoustic guitar, colorful keyboards, tapping (of
course), and the girls' glorious, almost naïve vocals.
Next up is their debut
full-length. The band will record part of it (tap, vocals, etc.)
at Presto! Studios with Mike Mogis in mid-November. The balance
of the tracks will be recorded at Pedersen's and Oberst's basement
studios (Look for plenty of guest appearances by the Saddle Creek
musicians) with the final mix in time for a spring release on a
mysterious new record label.