If Tamaryn and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino had a daughter who grew up in the desert, that daughter would listen to Mirror Travel—the Austin, Texas-based trio whose exquisitely fuzzy guitar and psych-rock sensibilities have been quietly garnering praise since their debut in 2010. Start with “Mexico” from their eponymous 2013 album Mexico, and read on for the down-and-dirty details of life as a working musician.
I first met Tiffanie Lanmon, who plays drums for the group, under casual circumstances in 2014, and her intelligence and style struck me immediately. Lanmon and Mirror Travel’s frontwoman, Lauren Green, grew up together near Temple, Texas, and played together in their school band. A couple years out of high school, they added the eminently talented bassist Paul Brinkley after Lanmon met him on the bus.
Once the group had established itself, they were featured in the 2010 compilation Casual Victim Pile. They released their best-known album, Mexico, in 2013, and afterwards went on national tour—which proved a particularly brutal challenge for Lanmon.
“There’s something about going on tour,” Lanmon told me, “Where waking up and sitting in the car every day and staring out the window, where you can’t really escape—either tour is like the ultimate escape, and people just avoid everything, or it is the ultimate confrontation with yourself, and that’s kind of where I was.”
She spent the trip reading Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids. “Reading that book was really reassuring,” she continues, “because you’re reading about her eating beans from a can and making art only with what she found.” Despite the reassuring read, tour was “really difficult,” she says. One particularly grim night, the band was driving through Wyoming when it began to snow.
“We drove through the night, but there was finally too much snow to keep driving. And we pull into this place. Lauren goes inside and pretends it’s just her—yeah, right—so we don’t pay more. We get into the hotel. We’re all spiritually hanging onto a thread.”
“And we get into the hotel,” she says, laughing, “And there’s blood on the sheets. And I was just trying to hold it together. So I sleep in sleeping bag on the bed. And I turn to the wall to go to bed and I look and there’s a booger on the wall. I start laughing so hard that I’m kind of crying. Mostly laughing so I don’t cry. And I just was like, ‘What are we doing? What are we doing? It’s worth it, right?’”
“But there are high times too,” she concludes, “And that makes it okay.”
Fans of the band have something new to look forward to: Mirror Travel just recorded an album. It’s the first recording they’ve done since Mexico came out in 2013.
“It’s six songs,” explains Lanmon, “But almost the same length as our ten-song album from last time. If I could have it my way the songs would always be eight minutes long.” She loves the “repetition” of longer songs, and “that drone effect of playing something over and over. I like the slow, eight-minute crescendo,” she says with a smile.