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Left to right: Andrew Craven, Brian Berry, Louis Kern, Jason Kushner, Ricky Delgado and Ben Hudland of Beardsley.

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Left to right: Andrew Craven, Brian Berry, Louis Kern, Jason Kushner, Ricky Delgado and Ben Hudland of Beardsley.

Some have beards: Jason Kushner, vocals and guitars; Louis Kern, bass; Andrew Craven, keyboards and synthesizers; Brian Berry, guitar, vocals and lap steel; Ricky Delgado, guitar, percussion; and Ben Hudland, drums.

Their sound: Imagine the dynamic fullness of the Beach Boys, the melodic sensibilities of the Beatles and the witty contortions of early Pavement and you're somewhere in the cerebral playground of Beardsley.

CD: Fighting Strangers in the Alps, 2008.

Homebase: Clearwater, but they're from all points in Tampa Bay.

Dude, what a name: The current CD title? "It's a reference to The Big Lebowski," Kern said, "as it was aired on TBS and censored. There's a (dubbed) line that says, 'You never f*** a stranger in the a**.' It's Walter saying this to a kid he thought stole his money or something like that, and they edited it, and it came off as, 'You never fight a stranger in the alps.'"

They really blew it up: "We used to practice at Ian's, our old drummer's, house," said Craven. "(Once) we managed to blow out a transformer in the street and set it on fire, which then set the lot on fire. The fire department came out."

Bummer misnomer: "We played Masquerade a couple of times before it shut down — that gives you an idea of how far back this goes," Craven said. "We played the Orpheum. We were under a different name for a long time — Magnetic North."

Berry: "We found out there was another Magnetic North from New Jersey. So we got a little write-up in (another local publication) that reviewed the wrong MySpace Music profile. So they said we sounded like Incubus, but we don't sound like Incubus. In order to avoid any confusion, we made sure we had a name nobody else had. There were two or three things named Magnetic North, including a rap group from California, which is hilariously awful."

So, why Beardsley? "It's actually my fault," admits Craven. "If you've ever seen Lolita, the Stanley Kubrick film adapted from the novel, Beardsley is the name of the college where Professor Humbert teaches. … It sounds like such a stately, regal name. I've always loved the absurd mixed with the fancy … the way I love calling little kids sir or ma'am."

Drummers then and now: Up until early this year, close friend Ian Lanzillotti played on Beardsley's CD, but he went away to grad school. Hudland, an established indie musician, has set the bar higher for the band. "He used to be on YepRoc records (which signed Robyn Hitchock and Nick Lowe) … in Jake Brennan and His Gentlemen," Craven said. "They were pretty big in Boston for a little while. He moved down here to live with his girlfriend. It gave us confidence to have someone like him like our music and want to play with us."

Hear them: 9 p.m. Friday with Modern Skirts. Crowbar, Ybor City. $8. (813) 241-8600.

Beardsley 10/16/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 3:59pm]
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