Cool Cover Jam from Girls Names

Girls NamesI’m not usually one to get all hot-and-bothered about cover songs, but I’ve spent enough time with Girls Names that I almost feel like what they’re doing is completely separate from just a typical cover.  For one, this cover of Brian Eno’s “Third Uncle” will appear on the band’s The Next Life EP, which will be a limited 12″ with some remixes from the group’s latest opus The New Life LP; it also is the first recorded piece featuring the band’s new drummer, Gib Cassidy.  Feel like it’s a good day for some sweet cover action, so why not go there with one of my favorite acts. If you dig, the EP will be out on October 29th on Slumberland.

ATH & SXSW: 3 to Watch Part 4.

sxsw-&-athSo close! Yet we’re so far away.  Okay, not really…SXSW is officially upon us, and shows are sprouting up all over the place.  Personally, I’m freaking out.  So many incredible bands that I want to see for the first time, and so many more that I would gladly see a hundred times over.  Here’s a list of a few acts that I haven’t actually caught yet, so I’ll be seeing them for the first time…SXSW is the first time to lose your band cherry. Read more

Girls Names – The New Life

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Rating: ★★★★½

When a band makes a sonic change, sometimes you lose fans or confuse fans, but the slightest change here should be considered a leap, with Girls Names releasing what I believe is one of the best records that will come out in 2013.  The New Life maintains the group’s penchant for uniting jangling guitars with atmospheric psychedelia, but creates this brooding darkness that propels the group into a category all their own.

“Pittura Infamante” was one of the first singles leaked out, and almost immediately you could tell that the group had something building.  The bass line alone brings in a different level of darkness, with Cathal Cully hauntingly crooning atop the verses.  Yet, two things minimize the black effects: the guitars and the chorus.  Cully’s voice carefully sways from the moment he sings “across,” accentuated by some nice keyboard additives. From there The New Life moves even further into its ghastly presentation with “Drawing Lines.”  My ears can’t get over the vocal here, in a good way.  It sounds as if they’ve been recorded in some ancient cathedral, evoking the purest emotion from any listener.  Also, you’ll note that the first of the two tracks, excluding the introductory “Portrait,” are far greater in length than the work done on Dead to Me–their debut had not a song over 4 minutes, but here, you’re lucky to find the two that just barely fit under that mark.  It demonstrates a bit more creativity and budding craft as songwriters, all which benefit the record.

While Girls Names have created more sprawling adventures this time out, don’t let me convince you that it all has to be affected by doom and gloom.  The swirling guitars that eventually open “Occultation” surely display an added light to the record.  Of course, Cully enters again with that demonic croon while the distorted guitar reverberates in your speakers.  Sonically dark, yes. Emotionally light, check!  Towards the end, the song has its own negative space exploration before jumping right back into a spirited close.  But, just because the band can traipse off into their own sonic realms in spectacular fashion, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the shortest track on The New Life.  Neil’s drumming really pushes the pace here, and the brighter side of the group’s guitar playing really shines through.  Even when they do things in tighter fashion, they give you more than you bargained for.  Right now, I’m particularly in love with the chorus.

Hopefully I’ve given you some insight into what listening to The New Life will be like when you let that needle hit the record. However, those are just some personal highlights, and I think what each listener brings to the table will really play a huge role in how the record is perceived.  That being said, I couldn’t be happier for Girls Names–they’ve taken on their remarkable promise as a young band and taken things to an entirely different level.  Feel free to swoon over this record for the rest of 2013…and beyond.

The New Life is available from Slumberland Records on 2/26.

More New Tunes from Girls Names

I’d be remiss if I didn’t write about the most recent Girls Names track to come out of the Internet.  I’d also be in the same boat if I didn’t admit that I have no idea where the group is going musically, in an extremely exhilarating sense.  When I first heard this tune, I noted the semi-Orange Juice guitar chops, but was thrown off by the haunting of the vocals.  Then came this progression with keyboard intrusions and a brighter tone to the vocals–it honestly reminded me of The Fresh and Onlys traveling back to the early 80s, which basically equates to a hit in my ear.  Luckily, The New Life will be in stores from Slumberland Records on February 18th, so I’ll finally get to put all the incredible pieces together.

Just Another Hit from Girls Names

Personally, I couldn’t be more excited about new music from Girls Names.  For one, the band’s drummer Neil has won me over with his Sea Pinks project, but I like the darkened underbelly hinted at with Girls Names.  Apparently after releasing Dead to Me, the band began to rework their sound, which is completely acceptable, but none the less important to the group’s developing sound.  This tune is a good four minutes shorter than their previous leaked single, but I think you’re going to like the feel of the tune.  It’s got a wayward jangle, but there’s a wafting quality created by the guitars and the vocals that carries the mood of the ]track. If you dig what you’re hearing (and you should!) then you can pick up their new effort, The New Life, on February 26th from Slumberland Records.

New Tune from Girls Names

I’ve been in love with Girls Names since their inception, but even more so now that their drummer Neil is battling for album of the year with his latest effort as Sea Pinks.  That point aside, the group’s got a great new single they’ve throw out, illustrating the bold new steps they’re taking in working towards the completion of their upcoming record. There’s still an element of lurking darkness in their sound, but the music seems to have drifted into a broader spectrum that I think shows the group really pushing themselves to find a new playground (musically speaking).  I love the ringing guitar that jumps in just after the 4 minute mark.