While the pandemic has been incredibly hard on the entire music industry, there are plenty cases of great music born out of being stuck at home. Just prior to the start of the pandemic in early 2020, Austin Durry and his wife, Ashley, had moved into a basement apartment in his parents’ suburban home in Burnsville. While writing new music he felt was rather different than that of his other band, Coyote Kid, Austin started bouncing song ideas off his younger sister, Taryn, since they were quarantined together, and a new songwriting partnership was formed. Their seven-year age gap may seem large in terms of shared musical tastes, but they found their interests overlapped much more as adults. Durry’s music evokes the youthful energy of pop-punk with a bit more mature and refined lyrics, while Austin’s voice has shades of Coldplay’s Chris Martin at times.
After a quick Kickstarter campaign last May to fund the recording of an EP titled Suburban Legend, they released the songs they had recorded one by one throughout the summer. Austin had been posting demos and behind-the-scenes clips on TikTok, most of which were met with mild interest.
@durry.music really digging this tune so far. should I finish it and release it for real?? what do you think? #newmusic #indiemusic #diymusic #honesty ♬ original sound – Durry
However, in late September he posted a roughly minute-long clip of him playing one of those in-progress songs he had started the day before. That song, “Who’s Laughing Now?”, opens with Austin belting out the memorable opening lyrics “My mama said I would regret it, if I ever got a tattoo.” And while it may not quite be the generational anthem “With the lights out, it’s less dangerous,” it’s clear that the song and its infectious lyrics had struck a nerve with listeners. Within 48 hours of posting, the clip had begun to go viral. Five days later, the band headed to the studio to record it, and exactly one week after posting the rough sketch, the studio version was released on Sept. 29.
The song and its DIY video shot in their garage quickly spread across social media accounts of local and national music fans like wildfire. Within two weeks, the song had racked up an impressive 100,000 streams on Spotify alone, and as of mid-January, the band has over 1 million streams overall. With that type of overnight success came a ton of interest from the music industry. The band began receiving tons of offers from numerous record labels, both major and independent. The band confirmed they recently signed with management and have a booking agent but are still in talks and the decision process as far as a label goes.
While the pandemic can be credited for Durry’s formation and much of their early success so far, as with many other artists it has also stunted their ascent and forced them to navigate an ever-changing landscape. After riding the high of selling out their first headlining concert the night before Thanksgiving at 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, the band watched as all their scheduled shows in Minnesota and beyond the following two months were cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 infections, rising case numbers, and snowstorms.
Although trying to capitalize on their success amid a lingering pandemic has been frustrating, it’s clear based on their drive and the quality of songs they’ve released since their breakout single that Durry are not willing to settle for the status of one-hit wonder. The six-song Kickstarter EP was recently released as a limited-edition cassette tape (with two bonus tracks) titled Welcome to the Losers Club that sold out 300 copies in just a few hours. Their plans for the spring include releasing more singles and videos and to eventually put out a full-length album later this year and then play live and tour as much as possible.
In concert Durry expand to a four-piece joined by Austin’s wife on bass and Dane Hoppe on drums. If their recent 7th Street Entry show is any indication, their live show is already quite impressive for such a relatively new band.
The highest-profile gig of their scheduled shows so far has been performing at First Avenue as one of the seven breakout local acts for the annual Best New Bands showcase in early January, which was postponed to March 4. Austin has played First Avenue’s Main Room stage with Coyote Kid, but this will be Taryn’s first time. Playing a show at the venerable First Avenue feels like the perfect culmination of a whirlwind year for Durry, but also just the beginning what’s to come.
First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2021
Featuring: Durry, EVV, Honeybutter, Kokou Kah, Lanue, Papa Mbye, and VIAL
When: Friday, March 4, 7 p.m. (doors open 6 p.m.)
Where: First Avenue, 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis