I came across the Vivian Girls after seeing that they were opening for Love is all at Market Hotel and looked up their myspace. I missed them that time, but the tracks on myspace were so great I ordered the singles still available immediately.
Then an email came through from ToddP about a last minute show at DBA supporting The Woods and Meneguars record release. After a walk around the block, and some confusion with the nights lineup, they were just finishing setting up.
I never get over how much I love this space. It's falling apart, the graphitti is ever changing on the walls, the ceiling tiles are more broken every time. Who's jumping up there and punching them? What guitars/mics have been thrown into the air?
They soundchecked the essential echo/chorus effects on all three mics, which was feedbacking along with the high range vocals, blending into a long screeching wail after the vocals faded. This part doesn't come through as much on the recorded material. The feedbacked endless echo is so much a part of this upper harmony/ethereal sound. It completely becomes another instrument taken to this endpoint, so completely pushed to the limit of possible echo that gives up coherence for pure harmonized vocals. They really use to their voices as women to their advantage, 3 high part girl harmonies working with the range of the intentional feedback... I just kept thinking 3 guys could not get away with this, it just wouldn't work.
The lyrics are so completely an afterthought live, they work completely... recorded, here it's the wall of harmony sound, all hiss and feedback. You reach for a little of the melody peeking through a punk rhythm, and jangly treble twee guitar.
I think that's the key to this sound that I love so much, the contrast between the usual moodiness tempo of this genre's sound. The My Bloody Valentine effect....with the echo set to '11' the first instinct is to slow down the tempo and draw out everything from the chords to the syllables. It turn's syrupy slow fall asleep town. Every track here live was probably faster than the stuff on their sold out self titled LP, the double snare hits are punked out, the chord strumming trying to keep up. The crowd was definitely bouncing around to the girl trio punk-gaze-a-thon.
They are living up to whatever kind of hype is already coming their way, it's an impressive debut album and the singles are so great. the way it's reworking a lot of elements: like mod/50's girl Phil Spector groups all the way through to Ramones punk to Shoegaze Jesus and Mary Chain and twee Swirlies, taking the best elements of all of that and keeping it fast and sounding new the whole time.
Tomorrow they play the Yard which is just a bad ass amazing space/venue, I'm sorry I'll miss it, this band is worth it... but there is a ridiculous lineup there anyway, I'm insane and you're insane not to go.
Here's a single still available from Woodsist (after July28th): VIVIAN GIRLS- "Tell The World" 7" (WOODSIST016) irresistible mix of shoegaze, punk, and 60's girl-group sounds with beautiful reverb drenched vocals. features three self recorded tracks of lo-fi goodness. first press of 1,000 on black vinyl.
7"= USA = $ 7.75 ppd Canada / Mexico = $ 10.75 ppd World Airmail = $ 12.75 ppd
price includes S&H and paypal fee paypal to cassettes( @ )gmail.comWWW.WOODSIST.COM