Isolation Drills: Larlene

Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.

Kat (guitar, vocals): In a roundabout way, the pandemic hasn’t been so bad for me. I lost a really toxic job that I haven’t missed for one second since. I didn’t notice until after I got laid off how much it had been grinding my spirit down.

I love to be alone and found myself writing so much with nowhere to be. I spent a lot of early quarantine teaching myself to record so I could flesh out more complex ideas. I was really proud of what I was making, but it felt a little empty! I had no one to bounce ideas off of. I really missed having a damn band!

Amy is a friend of many years, and I’ve always been a big fan of her energy. She hadn’t been in a band before, but I just had a feeling we would have an excellent time trying to make anything. Sure enough, playing together was fun as fuck, and we quickly outgrew the format. Amy brought Dana in the picture, and I’ve been hearing “Dream Weaver” ever since.

Isolation has been so sad and boring and complicated. I’m so grateful that in this weird world it was possible to assemble such a crack team of sensitive baddies. 

Amy (drums, vocals): I mean, woof! The pandemic really rocked all our socks off and burned all our feet. It was a lot to reckon with. But all things considered, if a couple scrapped life plans and the brutal end to a mega toxic relationship were the worst parts of my pandemic experience, I was lucky.

It turns out that being out of work at the venue (shout out Ortlieb’s), living with some real heartbreak, having no real plans and a friend who insisted I finally learn to play the drums was all it took for me to get mixed up in what’s become Larlene. Free time and angst got me to follow my dream of playing the drums, I guess.

Kat has been my friend for years and always encouraged me to make music as a catharsis. Once we got started playing, everything just came together. When we got Dana to play bass with us, it felt powerful, so we just immersed ourselves in it, and now we’re Larlene. 

Learning and creating made this past year possible to navigate and come out better for it. It’s nice to be so proud of something. I love my bandmates, our songs, our practices, our energy and how fun and uplifting it is to be part of Larlene. 

Dana (bass): Among the horror of coronavirus, the depression, losing faith in humanity, our country getting torn apart by racism and violence, watching the world burn while our selfish clown of a president sat on his golden toilet handing out millions to his minions, there was a ray of light breaking through the dark turbid fog. And that light was Larlene.

The pandemic tore things apart on a global scale, but it brought us together. Our story is about trying to handle this chaos on our own and realizing we don’t have to be alone. Each of us drowning in our own right when a perfectly manicured hand, encrusted in gaudy gold and silver rings (damn right Larlene mixes metal) plunged beneath the surface and pulled us above the murky waters to offer an oasis of musical inspiration that only the power of three could harness.

That’s Larlene, our bewitching and fearless muse. We had only been playing together for about three months before we were asked to record a song for the Philly Loves You album to benefit Ortlieb’s. There was no way we were gonna let Philly lose another cherished venue, so we seized the moment and hightailed it to Green Rock Recorders with a plan to record two songs. By the end of the weekend, we recorded three.

We are excited that our first EP, Meet Larlene, was released into the world yesterday! It’s available now on all streaming platforms. I am beyond lucky to be a part of this fortuitous trio and am sincerely looking forward to the road ahead.