We’re all suckers for a little girl rock. Sadly, over the years many of our crushes have been silly and short-lived (especially in the 80s.) If night after night you’ve fantasized about the bubble gum charm of The Shangri-Las meeting the bad-ass alt-rockery of The Breeders in a clash and recombination of girl rock’s best traits, it’s time you met Vivian Girls.
However, for this relationship to work you’re going to have to leave behind the baggage and troubled history of your past girl rock love affairs. Oh, and ditch the fantasy Punnett square. Girl bands do not have genes.
Listen to The Girls’ drowned out harmonies and envision a three headed female, each one shouting melodically into the other ones’ ears. Short and simple, loud and fuzzy. Their longer (to breach the three-minute mark) songs deal with universal issues like wanting to break up with you, but also not wanting to break up with you (Can’t Get Over You,) wanting you to be around all the time, but not wanting you to be around all the time (Where Do You Run To, with an epic harmonic buildup that gropes at the heavens,) and knowing to tread lightly on the second date, but not wanting to tread lightly on the second date (Second Date.)
Since their 2007 debut, The Vivian Girls have become Brooklyn’s undisputed lo-fi queens. Two years and another LP later, the Girls have got all the nation’s most die-hard hipsters digging through their parents’ The Ronettes albums.
However, at the height of indie-fame, the Girls have stretched the appeal of their retro-simple songs pretty tight. In a New York Times interview from a few months back, the Vivian Girls expressed worry about pressure to move forward musically and avoid stagnation. Well, if you ask me Everything Goes Wrong, their follow-up to Vivian Girls, is just as solid and sings a very different feeling – namely, the “everything goes wrong” feeling, as opposed to the previous “Going right or wrong, everything is pretty fun in the meantime.”
I don’t mean to trivialize. Seriously, check them out.
And in an interview with the Girls, they told me they are past their creative crisis, anyhow. Glad! And whence the angstiness of Everything Goes Wrong, I asked? “I don’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure I was listening to Steely Dan, Nite Jewel, America, Neil Young and Nodzzz a lot that week. None of which sound like the album. If Everything Goes Wrong sounds more angsty, that’s just the state we were in at the time.”
Take what you will from that; I take this: Vivian Girls are about the state you’re in. Simple states: exuberant, pissed off, disappointed – the kind we all visit on a daily basis. Thinking of them in terms of all the music their sound reminds you of will only dilute what they’re trying to get across.
In any case, they’re playing at Bottom of the Hill on February 9th. The past two Vivian Girls shows I have seen (fan-boy, yes) have involved whiskey shots and birthday cake on stage. Don’t miss out!