:Frontman Justin Williams, who has "been playing in bands since [he] was 14, traveling since [he] was 15," joined The Talk about two years ago. The 26-year-old Williams always wanted to be a skateboarder and was sponsored at a young age, but "let it go" when he started drinking too heavily. Now, "pretty much sober," Justin is focused on playing better music and growing with each album.

The Talk's version of punk-laced rock combines infectiously poppy melodies with an indie rock sensibility. While not consciously emulating other bands' styles, Williams admits to being strongly influenced by '80s and '90s indie rock such as Dinosaur Jr., Guided by Voices, Superchunk and Archers of Loaf -- several of which originated in North Carolina, Williams' hometown.

No, You Shut Up -- essentially a demo recorded in order to "get shows" and released as an album in 2003 -- encompassed all of the band's material to date at the time. Chuck Morrison, the owner of MoRisen records, heard promise in the band's material and felt compelled to release it, though Williams maintains "I never thought we were gonna do anything with that [album]." The blistering "Valentine's Day" has garnered some local airplay, but the band's -- and Williams' -- focus is on the future.

Williams is currently looking to add production for a poppier feel with his forthcoming release It's Like Magic In Reverse - thanks to Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, Azure Ray). "It's not so raw. It's a little more produced. It's a little punk rock; it's a little indie rock, with weird keyboard noises." He's also committed to smarter lyrics. While the first album features a song about killing a hooker, the new release weighs in on more pertinent issues: "We're in the middle of space and we don't have any idea what we're doing here. Just stupid stuff like that." He explains, "As little as something like falling in love with somebody is, it can improve or ruin your life at the same time, you know."

He respects the perseverance of bands that keep making music, despite never making it big. "Ultimately, I'd like to be a support act for [a band] maybe a little bit bigger that I like... maybe do five shows with Guided By Voices....I know that's huge, but I just want to play with some people I like." Later he says, "It's better to just put out records and record what you like to record and play shows, and if people like your shows they'll buy your record." In front of an audience of anywhere between 3 to 400 girls, he's paying his rent with music and skateboarding whenever he can.

Catch The Talk tonight, Thursday Jan. 22nd, downtown at The Fire. Get more info at www.the-talk.com.