Lemuria on Loving Florida and Punk Teamwork: "Our Albums Are a Reflection of Three People"

Buffalo indie trio Lemuria has close ties to Florida.

The threesome has played Gainesville's annual punk staple, The Fest, for five consecutive years. (And yes, they're on the bill for 2013 too.) The group has even scheduled four shows in the Sunshine State for its summer tour.

"We've made a lot of good friends in Florida," guitarist and vocalist Sheena Ozzella says. "Every time we're there, it's a lot of hanging out. Not as much swimming as we would like. So maybe we can change that on this trip."

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Ozzella's signature high-pitched trill and drummer-vocalist Alex Kerns' tight croon create a contagious, cutesy energy that perfectly offsets Max Gregor's warbling bass. The trio's third album (and second with Bridge Nine Records), The Distance Is So Big, is fresh off the presses, and delivers a ripe sound that still revels in the crew's punky roots.

"Scienceless" and "Public Opinion Bath" are products of Lemuria's melodious sing-along pop sensibility, with a discordant undertone of jangly notes and sharp, unfettered riffs -- echoing the catchy fuzz of Dinosaur Jr. and Superchunk.

Though the release is a bit gentler than the noisy breakup punk on 2007's The First Collection EP compilation and 2008's Get Better (see "Bugbear" and "Dogs," respectively), the new record's "Brilliant Dancer" has a stirring harmony like beloved Get Better anthem "Pants."

Over the years and albums, though, Lemuria's stalwart approach hasn't been without setbacks. Members have come and gone; the unexpected departure of a former bass player due to immigration issues left the songwriting for Pebble, the band's second critically acclaimed release, to Ozzella and Kerns -- and the pair's genius shines on "Wise People" and "Chautauqua County." But current bass player Gregor's seamless talent has proved to be the missing piece for Lemuria. And after signing with hardcore label Bridge 9 in 2010 (which bred Boston straight-edge titans Have Heart), Ozzella says the group's garnered a more diverse fanbase. That's right; meddlesome moshers have a soft side too.

"I think more than ever now, our albums are a reflection of three people," Ozzella says. "From now on, Max is a prime writing member, and I feel like if you like the new album, you'll probably enjoy everything that we do after."

Lemuria. With Sadie Hawkins, Antics, and Rale D'Agonie. Sunday, July 14. Talent Farm, 20911 Johnson St., Pembroke Pines. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m., and admission is $10 at the door. Call 954-438-3488 or visit

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Jessica Militare

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