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In the Garage: Dubb Nubb

Sisters in song, Dubb Nubb keeps it folksy

Zoe-Ruth Erwin

Delia and Hannah Rainey write and record songs together in sister and bandmate Amanda Rainey’s home.

January 24, 2013 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Dubb Nubb’s idea of a good practice is sprawling out on drummer Amanda Rainey’s floor with acoustic instruments and sitting around. That is, until Amanda gets them to buckle down. In her words, she is the responsible band mom. To her two younger sisters and bandmates, Delia Rainey and Hannah Rainey, she’s the “bossy jerk.”

It’s not really laziness that slows the practice as much as what might be productively described as an “excess in charisma” between the three women. Delia and Hannah, 20, are twins, so they know a little bit about each other, though they act more like best friends than sisters, pausing between songs
to gossip about whose friends are dating whom.

The second-story room relaxes the vibe even more. An area rug covered in a cool-color flower print dominates the spacious floor, and blue and white drapes overlook Tenth Street by Columbia College. Beyond that, the room is somewhat bare. A queen-sized bed is tucked into one corner, an ancient record player stands in another and in a third spills the papers and boxes that comprise Special Passenger Records, Dubb Nubb’s record label run by Amanda. Records by Bob Dylan, Sly and the Family Stone, Hank Williams and The Shangri-Las adorn the walls.

Once the band gets playing, you can hear the influences. Although the classic acoustic strum progression of Dubb Nubb’s “Top of the Hill (Ruby Girl)” definitively calls forth the power of the folk mythos, a set of twinkling bells and whistling brings the sound to a distinctly modern and adorable place.

The vocals invoke First Aid Kit’s high harmonies, which Hannah says is an influence for them. As Hannah strums and Delia sings, Amanda uses a combination of brushes and mallets on what must be the world’s most DIY drum: a banjo with the neck and strings detached, strung around her neck by two knotted neckties.

Dubb Nubb’s soft folk tunes are best listened to outside in a forest around a campfire, somewhere with a little less light pollution. Listening to them in Amanda’s large room, it almost feels cramped and stuffy. Still, it’s hard to imagine any venue where the group’s sound wouldn’t come off as delicate and undeniably intimate.

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