The much-storied Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls has been doing the world a favor since 2001. By attempting to level a musical landscape that is run by men, for men, the camp is clearly a sign of all things good in this world. While their camp showcases are an absolute blast, and totally inspiring if you find yourself jaded after so many years of music scene drama, there is still an incubation process before program grads make the transition from campers to rockers. But few things beat the wave of inspiration that comes from watching these young bands, knowing that someday they'll change everything, if not now, then soon.
Or perhaps, now. Local duo Blübird, made up of Úna Rose and Katie Alto, are two 13-year-olds who seem poised to be the latest camp graduates to make waves in this city's music scene. The two formed the band after a camp session ended, although their history goes back further than most, as Rose explains: "We were in the same second-grade class. But we got reacquainted at the Rock Camp." The simple setup (drums/guitar) of Blübird is common, but the band achieves a remarkably full sound, one that is rich in detail, but paces itself with maturity far beyond what is expected from a pair of ninth graders.
We Are Birds, their debut EP, begins with "What if We Don't Want to Be Warm?" a tender protest song against our commander-in-chief, one that peppers their anger with polite "pleases" and a chorus of, "Global warming/It's not just a prediction anymore/It's true/Help!" Because of this song the band recently crossed paths with conservative radio host Glenn Beck, a global warming skeptic—AKA the modern-day Flat Earth Society—whose attention toward the song unleashed a flurry of hate mail directed at the band, despite their age.
Global issues aside, it's "Little Yellow Lemon," the final track on the EP, which is the highlight of the band's brief musical output. Based around a simple foundation of softly strummed guitar, brushed drumming, and the stark vocals of Rose, the song soars with basic simplicity and a precious pop hook. Bands can wait their whole lives for a concise and perfect pop song like this, and it's quite alarmingly how easily two newcomers, fresh from rock camp, achieve it.
The playful slide guitar, courtesy of Rose, on "The Way You Thought it Was," showcases the band's technical chops, proving that they don't need to rely on their age as crutch. In fact, it's a non-issue. And while success is on the horizon, the duo isn't ready to shed their supportive parents just yet, "They like going to shows, plus they help run the merch table," adds Rose. "We need them."
While it's only a five-song EP, We Are Birds is the start of something real, an important movement that will (hopefully) not only change the structure of independent music, but it will cement the legacy of the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls as well. Here's to Blübird being the tip of the iceberg, and despite global warming, this one isn't melting away any time soon.