Not sure I realized quite how much I loved Cheap Girls until they announced their God’s Ex-Wife, a collection of rarities and B-Sides. Every song they’ve offered is really great, sounding like the softer underbelly in classic alternative rock. They’ve got distorted guitars with solos, catchy melodies and crashing cymbals; it’s not out of the ordinary, but the execution seems to make every song memorable. All I can say is these tracks sound like the perfect thing to turn up loud and drive around the neighborhood, smiling all the way. Asian Man Records is releasing the collection on September 16th.
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For me, I always think of Cheap Girls as the pop fans’ Guided By Voices. They’re similar in their power-pop guitar work, and Midwest roots, but by and large, I’ve always found Cheap Girls to be slightly more accessible. Their songs are longer, for the most part, and they work around more traditional structures. I know, you’re thinking, “I love Bob Pollard and his short pieces,” and I do too, but sometimes, you just want to sink your teeth into an entire song…or album. So, the group have opted to release God’s Ex Wife, a collection of B-sides and rarities, including the never before heard track below; it’ll be released by Asian Man Records on September 16th.
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Michigan’s Cheap Girls don’t have some labored back story or some certain angle they can promote. Instead, the group, now on their sixth record, just offer up really clean guitar rock; there’s not schtick, no pretense, just good songs. It sets the tone for listening to the entirety of Famous Graves, an album chocked-full of really good songs.
Famous Graves jumps at you right from the start with “Slow Nod.” A screech of feedback exits your speaker, and the drums immediately pound in while the guitar rings in discord. You’ll hear the vocals of Ian Graham wail steadily, with the music seemingly swallowing his melody. You need a guitar jam to start off your day? Best begin here. It’s one of the harder hitting moment on the record, aside from the one-two punch of “Pure Hate” and “Man in Question.” These two tracks offer a noisy dosage of guitars and crashing drumming. But, if you listen to the chorus of the former, you can hear the pop-centric approach the group has taken, surely endearing them to fans of all walks. On the latter, Graham offers a bit of a pitch-change in his vocal delivery, and it’s this touch that makes listening to Cheap Girls more than just your average alternative rock affair; vocal distinction does indeed go a long way…at least in my ears.
Still, one of my favorite things about the release are the melodic moments that come far more frequently than one might expect. My favorite tune, at the moment, “Knock Me Over,” establishes that emotion on its opening lines, using a muted guitar while Ian’s voice carefully makes its entrance into the track. Sure, the song picks up a slight bit, but the band never shies away from using great harmonies. Perhaps this style is not mastered any better inside Famous Graves than on the closer, “Turns.” I like the usage of strummed acoustic guitar to dominate the track; Graham’s vocal performance here is also one of his best on this record. The ability of Cheap Girls to hold onto that melody while still being loud enough to be considered a rock band is quite important in regards to your listening experience; it’s that perfect balance that allows you to come back to each song again and again without growing weary.
In an age where countless bands are regurgitating power chords and alternative rock stylings, it takes awhile to find something that makes a nod while still sounding unique in its own right. Countless hours of listening to Famous Graves indicates that this record is just that; it combines melody and loud rock n’ roll effortlessly, proving that Cheap Girls know precisely what they’re doing. If you like such things, then you’d be a fool not to stop in and spend some time on this album.
I thought I had already bought into the hype around this new Cheap Girls record when I posted “Man In Question” a few weeks back, but this new song really ups the ante. It’s fitting too that the last few weeks have been filled with grunge nostalgia because this brand of alternative guitar rock was bar superior, in my opinion, offering both solid melodies and great guitar playing. It’s just another sign that the Michigan-based group can really cover any style they want, though this song is what it’s all about. Their album, Famous Graves, will be out on May 13th via Xtra Mile Recordings.
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Seems like everyone’s collaborating these days, but with Cheap Girls working with Craig from the Hold Steady, it just seems to fit perfectly. They both have this traditional American rock sound; there’s not a lot of pretension or excess to what they’re writing. Here we have the band just doing their best to bang out a solid rock tune that will be featured on their new record, Famous Graves, and it encompasses a pretty straightforward rock song. It’s the sort of tune you want to sing with, yet it’s bold enough that it also makes you want to rock just enough. You can let yourself enjoy this record on May 13th via Xtra Mile Recordings.
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You know that feeling when you put on a new track and you’re immediately attached to the sound? Well, that’s exactly what happened when I put on this new tune from Cheap Girls; it’s something that begged to be put immediately into our daily schedule. You’ll find that the guitars are reminiscent of a solid alternative rocker, but there’s a deep quality to the vocals that really stuck with me. It’s a song that borders on the line of Americana, but offers a hint more rock n’ roll for your ears. Their album Famous Graves will be out on May 13th via Xtra Mile Recordings.
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