Not too long ago, Timothy TeBordo had been performing under the “ridiculous name” of Jeremiah Tattlebaum, but now, with Tinmouth, he’s part of a tightly knit trio playing “classic era indie rock,” influenced by bands like Yo La Tengo and Pavement.
The 31-year-old Philadelphian was always the drummer in his brother’s bands, but when his drum set was too cumbersome to transport to college, he started playing acoustic guitar. After cycling through various band members and striking out on his own, he found bassist Aaron Sternick and drummer Alyssa Shea through a Craigslist ad. It’s been a year since and the singer/guitarist has no complaints.
“Because we had all experienced failure in bands past, I kind of had full band demos and I said, ‘Look, I am ready to start playing live, day one.’ And so literally we played our first show I think two and half weeks after our first full band practice,” TeBordo recalled.
“It was a steep learning curve, and there’s definitely been a refinement of the sound, but they both know what they like. I think we learned each other pretty quickly. We know what the other is capable of, and we definitely like to push a little bit. But thing one was playing live and being ready to play live, and so that’s always been the goal.”
Their sound has grown by “leaps and bounds” since then, recording one studio-quality EP, “One More Revelation,” earlier this year and another demo EP, “The Avon Fisher Demos,” just recently.
“We were kind of going nuts. We had 12 songs that we hadn’t even played live, and we didn’t even know how they sounded, so I was like, ‘Look, my wife’s parents are away for the weekend, so we go into her basement, we record everything we have, and whatever sounds good we can kind of put up and let it be a mile marker for where we’re at,’” TeBordo said of “The Avon Fisher Demos,” named after the cross streets of the home they recorded in.
“I really like the sound of a good rhythm section in a band, and so now a lot of our songs really kind of start from that, kind of start from the bass and drums, and the guitar just kind of hangs over it and the vocals are off on their own doing whatever.”
Whenever songwriting inspiration strikes, TeBordo says he just follows where it leads, which takes him to some interesting places, attempting to find meaning in “an era where only terrible, vapid things can be done.”
“A lot of times, I’ll just be like, ‘I wonder if I could make this work.’ There’s the song ‘Miserable Little Cannon’ from ‘One More Revelation’ where I was like, ‘I wonder if I could have something that kind of evokes a Gary Glitter beat, but then go from that and make it a little bit more earthier or a little bit grittier than that, and so a lot of times it’ll just be a personal challenge, but a lot of times, that song ‘Withered on the Vine,’ I actually wrote while riding my bike. I started singing along to just the sound of my bike on the road,” he explained.
“I hope it’s more than just sonic wallpaper. If it makes (listeners) think, if somebody says, ‘Hey, you know, I had never thought of it this way,’ that would be satisfying for me. When people ask me what something meant or tell me that a particular lyric meant something to them, that definitely is very gratifying to me.”
TeBordo is looking forward to the band’s first-ever show in Northeastern Pennsylvania at The Other Side (part of Bart & Urby’s, 119 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre) on Saturday, Nov. 2 with Those Clever Foxes and a set of garage/soul/psych music from DJs Nate Nowak and Bob Mac. From there, the group is planning to record even more music for what they’re hoping to be a label debut.
“I think at this point we’ve got 13 songs, including the four that are on ‘Avon Fisher,’ that we’re ready to record, so hopefully by January we’ll be in the studio, and then we’ll be shopping it to labels and keep our fingers crossed.”