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Girls Girls Girls (and no, not Motley Crue)

One of the best albums of 2009 just took a few spins on my turntable tonight.  The San Francisco duo of Christopher Owens and Chet “JR” White formed Girls in 2007, viagra search but didn’t release their debut – simply titled Album – until last month.  Owens’ backstory is, pharm well, fucked up.  I’ll let Pitchfork set the scene…

Girls frontman Christopher Owens grew up in the Children of God cult. His older brother died as a baby because the cult didn’t believe in medical attention. His dad left. He and his mother lived around the world, and the cult sometimes forced his mother to prostitute herself. As a teenager, Owens fled and lived as a Texas gutter-punk for a while.

Given his life, this album could have so easily veered into a completely different and perhaps hackneyed direction, but Owens has instead produced one of the most infectious, lyrically-interesting, and musically-diverse indie pop in recent years.  Not many pop albums evoke influences as distinct as Jesus & Mary Chain, Elvis Costello, Beach Boys, Yo La Tengo, Neutral Milk Hotel, and then toss in hints of rockabilly and alt-country.

Unless you share my love of distinctive, slightly off-kilter yet highly emotive voices, Owens’ singing may not be your cup of tea.  But man, whatever you may think of his singing style, you cannot deny his song-crafting chops.

Lust For Life, Girls.  Shimmering electric guitar notes that would make Stone Roses jealous.  Killer bass line.  One of the catchiest melodies of the year.  Disturbed lyrics?  What disturbed lyrics?

Laura, Girls.  If the opening bars don’t make you want to hop, skip and jump along the sidewalk arm-in-arm with that special someone while sharing your favorite gelato, then nothing will – oh, the lyrics…you say it’s about a terrible break up with his girlfriend, he’s regretful and wants to end the recriminations and become friends…ok, so maybe just a hop and a skip.

Hellhole Ratrace, Girls.  Beautiful song.  The sing-along melody sets a serenely pastoral scene for the first half of the song, but it slowly and steadily builds with percussive elements and distorted, atmospheric guitars.  And believe it or not, the lyrics are rather life-affirming.  Wow, what a beautiful song.

Summertime, Girls.  Hook, hook, hook.  Geez, who the hell is this guy??

Definitely a contender for album of the year.

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