It’s a safe bet that not many bands around here take the stage and perform the theme to Doctor Who, the video game soundtracks to Tetris and Super Mario Bros., or jaunty Bach fugues. But during a recent show at Lola’s Saloon, the four dudes and a chick who make up Fort Worth’s Lindby let their geek flags fly. Along with the high and low cultural references, the band pumped out an eclectic, high-energy set, pulsing with crisp synth riffs, flashy electric guitarwork, and sumptuous vocal melodies, most delivered chorus-style, to an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 50.
Guitarist and co-frontman Nick Goodrich confirmed the band’s anti-cool cool leanings, during an interview at his house/recording studio in the outer-reaches of Fort Worth, near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. But he decried the label of “novelty band.”
“We consider ourselves pretty big nerds,” he said, “but we don’t parade it around. … We love the nerd aspect of music. We all love video game soundtracks, and we’re heavily influenced by television and movie songs. We grew up listening to so many video game songs, we almost owe it to them” to cover them.
Stylistically, the band casts a wide net, with a sound so diverse it’s as if the band members play a game of genre roulette before writing a song. Lindby’s sound, at its core, ranges from jazzy to indie-rocking, everything based on the band’s signature choral vocals and bright synths. Lindby’s style, said bassist Kyle Claset, is intentionally hard to pin down.
“It’s always been part of our goal to keep your ears guessing,” he said.
Though they are unabashedly eccentric, the members of Lindby are all musicians’ musicians. Four out of the five hold degrees in music from the University of Texas at Arlington, where the group formed.
Multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Nick Spurrier and Goodrich met in sixth grade. The two have been playing together consistently for about eight years. They met bassist Claset and vocalist/keyboardist Ali Grant three years ago in a choir class taught by Jing Ling-Tam, a professor of vocal studies and star of “The Jing Ling-Tam Blues,” a hilariously catchy number off Lindby’s 15-track debut album, Erikson.
“She’s our muse,” Grant joked.
“Basically if you enter into our lives and have an impact, we’ll write a song about you,” added Spurrier, who has a Lord of the Rings tattoo on his shoulder.
Despite the bandmembers’ serious musical training, there is no lack of quirk in their songs. On Erikson, the band’s subject matter varies from aboriginal medicine men (“The Shaman”) to a fascination with “Leif Erikson,” which includes the harmonized refrain “You sacked and sailed and drank / You loved your mother / Whoah-oh-oh, my Erikson.”
Typically, Spurrier writes the music and Goodrich the vocals. The band doesn’t have a frontman, choosing instead to divide vocal duties between Grant and Goodrich, with the others providing backup.
The Lindby-ites have been gigging and recording a lot and are hard at work on a Christmas album to be released on Thursday, Dec. 6. Christmas with Lindby and Friends will feature a who’s-who of North Texas musos and be anchored by a version of John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over),” with vocal solos by Tim Locke of Calhoun, Josh Weathers, Jody Jones, Meghann Moore of The Breakfast Machine, and Larry Gee. Other vocals throughout the album will be provided by members of Animal Spirit, The Frisky Disco, Slumberbuzz, and We’rewolves. Also included on the five-song EP is a Star Wars-influenced spoof of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Instead of lovers, Luke Skywalker and Yoda on the planet Dagobah will be dueting. Christmas with Lindby and Friends will be available for free download at lindby.bandcamp.com.
The Lindby folks are planning to rework some of the material that didn’t make it onto Erikson for a new album this spring. First, though, they have to find a new drummer: Current stickman Tanner Brown is leaving (on good terms) and will continue to perform with the band until he is replaced. Brown is the band’s third drummer, a position, Goodrich joked, that has turned over as many times as the Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers in the Harry Potter novels.
In the meantime, Goodrich and Spurrier plan on adding to their nerdy repertoire, having just specially ordered the score to the Nintendo 64 version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and the scores of various Super Mario Bros. games. Lindby wants to keep its audiences guessing.
“Hopefully there’s never a song where people are, like, ‘I guess I’ll go to the bathroom now,’ ” Goodrich said.