When Christopher Owens tweeted that fatal message announcing the end of Girls (the band—not the show, or gender) in early July, he broke a lot of hearts. Owens and his partner in crime, JR White, won over a sizable chunk of the indie rock world without and gimmicks, publicity stunts, or desperate grasps for attention. Instead they went about their business making music firmly rooted in the traditional while still maintaining a very current edge.
So now what are you supposed to listen to when you get that itch for new music in the same vein as Album, Father Son Holy Ghost or Broken Dreams Club? Instead of revisiting Girls’ material while crying into a pint of ice cream, check out these six bands that might ease the pain.
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Might as well hit it off with one of the more obvious selections. You see, back in the day a young Christopher Owens met Ariel Pink and Matt Fishbeck, who were in a band called Holy Shit. Owens ended up joining that band and touring with Pink and Fishbeck. Ariel Pink has always been a big fan of home recording, so a large amount of his sound is nearer to lo-fi than Girls ever was. But in the instrumentation and style of tracks like “Only In My Dreams” it’s easy to hear that this music is branched from the same tree as Father, Son, Holy Ghost.
The Ridgewood, New Jersey trio is another easy choice for this list. Although the band dances much more closely with sugarcoated pop melodies, the guitar work and texture is reminiscent of “Honey Bunny” or any of Girls more summery almost surf-rock tracks. “It’s Real” is their biggest track, but “Easy” and “Green Aisles” are both worth giving a spin.
If Real Estate represented the brighter, sugary side of Girls, Kurt Vile handles the bitter dark corners where all the disappointment and angst was kept. Neither of Girls’ two full length albums were all sunshine and reverb-y fun. Sometimes things get serious, moody, or heartbroken, or maybe a chord or two just needs a little fucking up. Kurt Vile feels that. He’s a little more ’90s and a touch more Sonic Youth, but the average Girls fan should be able to relate to his sound.
Although it didn’t happen often, the fuzzy, guitar driven 90’s clad sound of Yuck made a few appearances in the work of Owens and White, and this list would not be compete without the band that is cornering the market on fuzz. Yuck’s sound is significantly more grunge than Girls, but the two groups mesh well—put them together in a playlist and this becomes evident. The radio feel of Yuck’s muddy sound is the perfect partner for crisper lighter moments from Girls.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are cut from the same cloth as Girls. Their breakout track “Young Adult Friction” could fit right in on Album. Vocally, Kip Berman is probably the closest of these five groups to Christopher Owens. Though TPOBPAH are a bit more liberal with the application of reverb at times, check out “A Teenager In Love” from the first album, or for something more direct try “Belong.”
Elvis Costello & The Attractions
When you sit down and listen to Father Son Holy Ghost, you almost expect to hear Costello’s “Alison” mixed in among the fodder. The most venerable of Costello’s influence absolutely drips from each golden chord and well-textured solo. Owen’s vocal stylings are branched from the same tree as those of the Right Reverend Jimmy Quickly. Of course not all of Costello’s vast catalogue of music fits the bill, seeing as the man is quite literally an encyclopedia of pop. Costello tends to write from a more optimistic place than Owens, but the likeness is most certainly there. Delve into 1978’s This Year’s Model for proof. You won’t regret it.