Girl In A Coma — Exits & All The Rest. Out now.
I’ve broadened my horizons this year; sometimes on purpose (mostly thanks to Pam) and sometimes accidentally (Doughty’s opener this tour is avant-garde jazz dub step trio Moon Hooch, who he found playing in a subway tunnel in NYC). But sometimes you want your horizons broadened with something familiar, something you loved as a teenager or in college or three years ago, and that’s how, thanks to Pam again, I ended up discovering San Antonio punk trio Girl In A Coma.
Fact: sometimes you just want to listen to a bunch of great female songwriters make a lot of noise on their guitars.
Girl In A Coma’s album, which takes its name from a Moz song just as they do, is a tour de force of pop punk songwriting and musicianship; it’s a punk record, at its heart, but it shimmers with melody and synthesizers that make me feel like I’m somewhere in Texas in July, looking out at a huge sky and hot asphalt and the yellow lines of a road. In short: it’s a pop punk record that pushes boundaries, both its own and its listeners, and you can’t expect more from a band that had the stones to name themselves after a Morrissey-penned song.
The record opens exactly that way, with skittering drums and breathy vocals on “Adjust” that swell and break into Nina Diaz’s sturm and drang of shriek and guitar on the not-quite-choruses. This runs through the record, songs that present themselves as one thing and become another, songs that contain multitudes — “Adjust” pounds its way to a conclusion and storms into the driving drum beat and windows-down-radio-up guitar and bass of “One Eyed Fool”, all with Diaz’s voice slinking over the top of the grinding, crashing music, but with 60s girl group backing vocals and a melody belies their punk rock roots.
This album doesn’t pull any punches, musically or lyrically. Diaz sounds like PJ Harvey at her most seductive one minute and Kathleen Hanna at her howliest the next, and her band, sister Phanie on drums and Jenn Alva on bass, add their thickly textured synth-pop-punk-rock-Phil-Spector music to keep Nina’s voice from flying off into the ether. It sounds like a later Veruca Salt record, actually, except if Nina Gordon had stayed because Diaz has a voice that’s equal if not superior to Gordon’s. If Veruca Salt listened to a lot of Moz and the Crystals, this is the record they’d have made, except that Girl in a Coma does it better than I think their sisters-in-guitar-wailing-arms would have. It’s hazy and sweet like a summer sunset, it’s wild and dark like 2 am on a hot July night. It doesn’t feel like a November album, not even the dark minor guitar work at the open of “She Had a Plan” and the creepster vocals on “Adjust”. It’s a sundress midnight secrets in August kind of album; the best kind of that album.
Girl In A Coma plays Local 506 on Tuesday, 11/8, 9PM. Tix are $10. You should be there, because these guys are not to be missed.
And, hey, while I’m at it, behind the jump, some other shows I’m psyched about coming up:
11/4, Cat’s Cradle, Fitz & the Tantrums w/ Walk the Moon. 9PM.
11/4, Nightlight, MC Frontalot/Juan Huevos/Brandon Patten/Thought Criminals. 9:30PM.
11/6, Local 506, Mister Heavenly w/ Mr.Dream. 9PM.
11/10, the Station, Sinful Savage Tigers w/ Josh Oliver. 10PM. Ish.
11/10, the Cave, Slingshot Cash w/ Bevel Summers. 10PM. Ish.
11/11, Local 506, the Sea & Cake w/ Brokeback & Butterflies. 8:30PM.
11/11, Haw River Ballroom, Megafaun w/ Bowerbirds. 8PM. Maybe?
11/12, Cat’s Cradle, Bombadil w/ J.Kutchma & Future Kings of Nowhere. 9PM.
11/12, Local 506, The Fling w/ Floating Action & Schooner. 9PM.
I love it when I don’t have to leave Chapel Hill. Yep.