Friday, October 9, 2009

- The Vivian Girls

Imagine, if you will, that it is March, 2007 in Brooklyn, New York, and the trio of Cassie Ramone, Kickball Katy and Frankie Rose have become The Vivian Girls. Ramone and bassist Kickball Katy form after first coming together in high school, meeting at a Weezer concert. After only having been a band for a matter of weeks, they have recorded their first a demo which includes five original songs and a one cover (the band cites the Wipers as their one big influence, other than Burt Bacharach), and have begun to play the local Brooklyn scene as well as around the state of New Jersey.

Within weeks they have developed a strong following, supporting acts as renowned as Sonic Youth, as well as finding camaraderie among other local bands like Cause Co-Motion!, Crystal Stilts, and Woods, with whom they share many bills, thus helping to build up a local music scene to which the band is still very much connected.

Fast forward to March of 2008, they have released ‘Wild Eyes’ as a single on the ‘Plays With Dolls’ label. Despite low key promotion and little in the way of distribution, the single has become an indie hit, appearing on many college radio play lists and acquiring many a positive internet review.

Their eponymously-titled debut album is recorded during the same session and released on the ‘Mauled by Tigers’ label. The initial pressing of the album sells out in a mere ten days, during which time the group sign with ‘In The Red’ Records. The album is subsequently re-released in October of that year, although the band had undergone a minor lineup change, with new drummer Ali Koehler replacing Frankie Rose in July.

Move on to October, 2009 and their second album, ‘Everything Goes Wrong’ has just been released. Song titles include the likes of the majestically titled ‘I Have No Fun’ and ‘I'm Not Asleep’, and the ladies have doubled their studio recording time for this album; they have spent a long, grueling six days recording this time round, instead of the three that it took to deliver their debut.

So, would you call them cute? Do so at your own peril, although possibly their utmost claim to fame is that they were part of a recent Jeopardy question about really cute Brooklyn bands. The band's name actually comes from an epic work by outsider artist Henry Darger, called ‘The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion’ (a 15,000-page epic the band admit to not having read). Darger, whose work ranks among the most celebrated examples of outsider art, created in his Vivian girls some of the most slick and yet disquieting figures in contemporary culture, making the band's appropriation of the monicker all the more apposite.

Listen to the Vivian Girls here.

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