Au Revoir Simone's Annie Hart is on the phone from a tour stop in Munich. She's just finished sound-check and is stoked on her monitor mix. It's a simple pleasure–but then again, simple pleasures are what Au Revoir Simone is all about. Since 2003, the Brooklyn trio–rounded out by fellow keyboardist/vocalists Heather D'Angelo and Erika Forster–has crafted infectious songs that display a fervent dedication to synthetic keyboard melodies. In other words, it's been saccharine indie-pop fun from day one.
"We never said, 'We're gonna be a band and play shows and take over the world.' We just wanted to go to Erika's house to drink tea and play keyboards," says Hart. "The big advancement was when we brought keyboard stands to practice." Shortly after that, Foster's keyboard teacher invited them to play a show, forcing them to come up with a name. Au Revoir Simone, taken from Pee-wee's Big Adventure, struck a chord with all three members. "We thought that it sounded so romantic and beautiful, but it was actually really dorky," she explains, "I think that's a lot of what we exemplify."
Two years later, Au Revoir Simone released their debut album, Verses of Comfort, Assurance, and Salvation, on their own label, Our Secret Record Company. (British label Moshi Moshi released the record in Europe.) The record caught the attention of ex-Talking Heads member David Byrne, who championed them on his online radio station; not long after, two songs were commissioned for Grey's Anatomy. "It will sound kind of corny, but being on the show really gave my mom something to brag about," Hart says.
They've also made a fan of David Lynch, who met them at the opening for his book, Catching the Big Fish. (They were invited to play music while he read excerpts.) The Blue Velvet director was an instant fan, and later flew them to Paris for an art opening. "He invited us out for drinks in Paris, and we got along really well," Hart quips. "So it's weird to watch his movies and be like, 'Whoa! Is that the same guy who's a totally nice dude?'"
After hefty blog coverage and a premature leak on file-sharing networks, the girls' second record, The Bird of Music, came out in March. But while huge anticipation usually leads to critical backlash, Hart's insecurities lie elsewhere. "What I'm really nervous about is that someone's going to make fun of the way I dance [on stage], because it's really awkward," she confesses. "I'm not looking forward to the day I read, 'That girl's totally spastic.' I'm hoping nobody will notice."