American sibling duo Durry release debut album “Who’s Laughing Now” via Thirty Tigers
The first sound you hear on Durry’s rambunctious and poignant debut album, Suburban Legend, is an old-school Internet dial-up tone. To songwriter Austin Durry, the sound is instantly familiar but his bandmate and sister, Taryn, hadn’t heard it before. The Burnsville, Minnesota-based duo might identify with different age groups — with seven years between them, Austin is a millennial and Taryn is Gen Z — but by joining forces in Durry, they show just how much the neighboring generations have in common.
Between their serendipitous origin story and a crop of dynamic, hook-heavy alt-pop tracks, Durry are doing something few bands can achieve — and they’re doing it entirely on their own terms. As a band, Taryn and Austin’s journey happened both unexpectedly and fortuitously. At the start of the COVID pandemic, Austin and his wife moved back into his parents’ house, where Taryn was also living at the time. In addition to moving back in with his family, COVID forced Austin to cancel an extensive tour with his previous band, Coyote Kid. Faced with nothing but time, he got back to songwriting, regularly asking Taryn for input — or as the two playfully put it, “Gen Z quality control.”
“I’d say, here’s an early concept, what do you think? Then she'll steer the ship, and then I'll evolve it from there,” Austin explains. “Taryn is the sounding board and Gen Z vision of the band, where I’m kinda cranking stuff out.”
As they got going, forming what would turn into Durry, the siblings also outlined DIY ideas for branding and promotion, creating all of their own content and imbuing their visuals with nostalgic golden yellow, large fonts, and tactile images that would later make their way into eye-catching merch.
The immediate result of their musical partnership was the pop-punk/alternative anthem “Who’s Laughing Now,” which leads with wry, tongue-in-cheek lyrics about the futility of young adulthood in 2023: “My mama always said I would regret it if I ever got a tattoo,” Austin chants, adding: “She said I’d never get a job like I ever wanted one with that attitude/ My dad said I had to learn to drive a stick shift, but every van I ever had was an automatic/ My friends said that someday I would make it big, but I’m still living in the basement.”
After posting an unfinished version of “Who’s Laughing Now” on TikTok, it swiftly took off, galvanizing thousands of viewers who shared their coming-of-age frustrations. Clearly, the song’s sentiments — which land somewhere between a shrug and a clenched fist — resonated with millions of listeners, and today the song has garnered more than four million Spotify streams. Meanwhile, Durry have recorded a fully fleshed-out version of “Who’s Laughing Now,” which is set to appear on their riveting, perfectly sardonic debut LP, Suburban Legend.
Invoking alternative, pop, and pop-punk influences such as Weezer, Sum 41, the White Stripes, and the Killers, Suburban Legend is produced by Austin, engineered by the singer’s longtime collaborator Jack Vondrachek, and contains 12 songs packed with energy, gumption, and razor-sharp lyricism that explores themes around suburbia, capitalism, mundanity, ambition, perseverance, passion, mental health — and Taco Bell.
"The mundane version of an urban legend is a ‘suburban legend,’ right?” Austin reasons. “I like the juxtaposition of it. ‘Legend’ sounds so epic, and the suburban setting sounds so not epic. The legend of the suburbs is that you can do what you want, make art, be successful, and escape the suburbs. We’re trying to become suburban legends by making this album.”
Taryn concurs: “Not many huge success stories come from the suburbs. That's the metaphor for us: trying to escape the suburbs. I think we have a very small but authentic story if not a super-crazy interesting background. But we are gaining success, and it's cool to see that grow. It feels so rare and unexpected.”
Growing up in Burnsville (a suburb south of Minneapolis), Taryn and Austin were raised in a musical family and were homeschooled by their parents: an art and music teacher. Ironically, the siblings didn’t have much exposure to mainstream music as kids, but that eventually changed as they got older and Austin began playing in local DIY bands. “We try to keep the melodic value of pop music while giving our verses intricate story moments,” Austin outlines. “Our management team said we're basically writing old-school country songs but putting rock music on top of it. The lyrical structure is very story-focused.”
Kicking off with the energy-blasted “Coming Of Age,” Durry reimagine Dolly Parton’s classic workplace-woes anthem “9 To 5” with their own vivacious ode to quitting corporate life. Partially inspired by Neo’s drone-like cubicle job in the first Matrix film, “Coming Of Age” is packed with “classic office-y tropes,” Austin says. “It’s about the drudgery of office work, quitting, and fighting against the can-do career mindset attitude. The lyrics are, ‘You can call me a quitter/ But I'm calling it coming of age.’ That's a part of growing up: deciding that your time is worth more than whatever the office thing is.
“It also touches on the expectations of the security that we deem so vital,” Austin continues. “The bridge is about how you can set your own goals for your life. If your goals are ‘have a good time,’ that's fine. You can succeed at that. You set the goalposts.”
Later, the stomping, guitar-driven barn-burner “I’m Fine (No Really)” touches on “the world’s most common lie” — aka responding “I’m fine” when someone asks how you’re doing. “It actually goes back to some office themes,” Austin says. “Fear of small talk, and the thought of ‘everything's fine.’ The chorus is this ironic deranged screaming, ‘I'm fine. No, really, I'm fine. The call-and-response part is like a water cooler conversation I imagined of boring things.”
The propulsive, ‘80s pop-inspired “Little Bit Lonely” is what the band call “a self-aware, unapologetically cheesy, summertime head-bobber. It’s about growing up, moving out, and realizing you kinda like being alone sometimes.” Starting out as Austin’s attempt to write a closing-credits song soundtracking a teen rom-com, “Little Bit Lonely” is also inspired by the frontman’s wife, “who prefers to be alone a lot,” he says. “Solitude is where she finds rest and peace.”
Meanwhile, the arena-filler “TKO” recalls Austin’s first date with his now-wife at Taco Bell. Blending punk-rock chords and a stomp-clap chorus, the singer looks back at moments of self-consciousness and insecurity. “It’s for the people who are dating out of their league,” he jokes. “It’s self-deprecating, but it’s also lifting up the other person. It’s very autobiographical.”
For all of its droll observational humor, there are plenty of moments with pure levity on Suburban Legend. For instance, the rewritten “Who’s Laughing Now”: After the unfinished track went viral, Austin says, “I left for the studio to try and capture this once-in-a-lifetime moment. I realized the song I had written was wrong, and there was still hope left in the world. On the drive to the studio I rewrote it, inspired by the success and excitement of the public. This song is literally written about the success of its own demo. ‘The Preacher told me this was only just a pipe dream, and I’ve been burning both ends 7 days a week. But baby I just paid the rent making music with my friends, it ain’t much but it could be the start of something big.’”
Whether Suburban Legend is tackling romantic love, late-stage capitalism, mental health woes, or teen nostalgia, the thread tying it all together is its utter relatability. “There are songs for millennials and Gen Z,” Austin says. “There are songs where you're at your office job, you're a grown up and you don't like it. Then there are others that are like, you're a teenager at the mall. That's part of what we're trying to do: give Millennials nostalgia triggers but also give Gen Z a present-day anthem.”
Regardless of where you are in life — city or suburbs, school or work, or pursuing a creative dream of your own — Durry will meet you there with a wink and a high five.