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Coming soon to a burger joint near you

This Australian pop band is bringing their own flavor of romantic, thrilling pop to the U.S., hoping to conquer it one burger stand at a time. By Paige Newman
/ Source: msnbc.com

“I’m really excited about Kansas. I’m really excited about reliving the scene from ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” Dappled Cities singer-guitarist Tim Derricourt muses. And with the band’s first U.S. tour looming, it must feel a bit like traveling over the rainbow.

Dappled Cities, who met in school in a Sydney, Australia, suburb, has been playing together for 10 years, and “Granddance” is their first record to be released in the States. And after recording their first record, “A Smile,” in drummer Hugh Boyce’s mom’s basement, they finally have some real label support from Speak N Spell in Australia and Dangerbird Records in the U.S.

Their music, which Derricourt describes as “exciting, melodramatic romantic pop,” has the dreaminess of the Flaming Lips with the energy of Arcade Fire. And they intend for “Granddance” to be an unrelenting experience for the listener.

“We really wanted to make an album that satisfied our own short attention spans,” jokes Derricourt, “We really wanted something that made a lot of noise for a short amount of time.”

The band wrote a lot of songs before recording, and their method of deciding what goes on the album is a bit unorthodox. “Usually we sit down with various members of the U.N. Security Council and they help us decide on things,” Derricourt jokes. “But they weren’t available. So we just had to decide in our own way: sticks, chains and bats.”

Luckily, so far no one’s been hurt. Actually, the band, which has two songwriters in Derricourt and fellow singer-guitarist Dave Rennick, splits all singing and writing duties right down the middle. Yet, the songs all share a distinct Dappled Cities feel.

“We like to have every song that we write to sound different from the last song we’ve written,” Derricourt said. “If a drum beat sounds even vaguely familiar to another drum beat, the drummer will change it. Each individual member has that same ethic.”

The band isn’t into discussing lyrics — in fact, Derricourt says the only time they admit what they mean to each other is “at late night pajama parties.” He is enjoying the fact that the crowds are singing along with the new songs, especially “Holy Chord,” which has received good radio play in Australia.

“I just love the fact that I’ve written some lyrics that are really obtuse and don’t really make any sense and the people will sing every lyric,” he says laughing.

One of the more fun songs to sing along to is Rennick’s “Within Hours,” which  features the refrain “receding hairline.”

“I didn’t even notice how funny that like was — I didn’t even think about it — until we played it and my girlfriend’s like, ‘Do you guys sing ‘receding hairline’?’ And now I can’t sing the line without laughing.”

The band, which also includes bassist Alex Moore and keyboard player Ned Cooke, finds the fun in everything they do. The band once opened for the infamous Brian Jonestown Massacre, which Derricourt describes as “insane.”

“He’s quite a force to be reckoned with that Anton Newcombe,” Derricourt said. “I don’t want him to read anything in case he kills me. At one point he threatened to break every bone in my body before telling me I was a praise-worthy genius. All I want to say is it was a very interesting experience.”

For their first U.S. tour, they’ll open for the Tokyo Police Club, before moving on to play with British band the Fratellis. Dappled Cities will be touring the States for six months, which at the very least will give them a chance to revisit Los Angeles, where they recorded “Granddance” and discovered a certain heavenly delight: the In ‘n Out burger.

“We tried to take some burgers home on the plane, but they got squashed in our little pockets,” Derricourt confides. “They’re the most beautiful things in the world. We’re thinking of marrying them.”

The best part of an American tour is putting all those “real” jobs on hold for six months and just playing music, which Derricourt says, “is pretty much all anyone could really ask for.”

For more information on Dappled Cities and for upcoming tour dates, visit: http://www.dappledcitiesfly.com/.