For weeks (months) I’ve heard Dana rave about Pretty Girls Make Graves. I doubt there has been a trip in her car where she hasn’t played a song from their debut cd, quoted a lyric over the course of conversation, or gushed about their live shows. I was nearly as excited as she was when I learned I would finally hear and see what the hubbub was all about.
She’s right. I am obsessed with this band. Good Health, their first full length CD, has been in constant rotation on my car CD player since I got it in April. April 13th. At the CD release party at Chop Suey. Why yes I do remember the exact date I got it, thankyouverymuch. That is how big a dork I am for this band. My imaginary girl friend Marlene and I even have matching PGMG t-shirts! Could that possibly be dorkier?
Because I went to the show with the superfan, we arrived early. I felt like it was Christmas day at the Crocodile: no line at the bar or the bathroom, and we had our choice of backroom booths. A good omen! Unfortunately for opening band number one, we were enjoying Crocodile booth-dom and one of my friends was practicing flirting techinique with one of the Croc hotties (said friend has yet to sign the release papers allowing us to use his/her identity).
It’s no wonder this band is the shit, considering their collective local-band history (with members hailing from the Murder City Devils, Kill Sadie, the Beehive Vaults, and the Death Wish Kids). While vocalist Andrea Zollo’s beautifully blaring vocals evoke thoughts of Kathleen Hanna, and the musical stylings are reminscent of a freakish Bratmobile/X-Ray Spex union, Pretty Girls Make Graves’ sound is anything but derivitive; they manage to produce a sound so fresh, simulateously so angry and so fun. …….. And when you hear them LIVE… well, it’s exponentially better from there.
This was my third time seeing PGMG, and this show was nearly nostalgic — well, as nostalgic as a band that has only been together around a year can be. The audience was far smaller and more intimate than the Chop Suey show — after all, it was a Sunday night — and the band dedicated the show to various friends who were there. They seemed geniunely excited to be playing for a home crowd again after so many weeks on the road, and terribly at ease as well. At one point, Andrea even confessed that her voice was showing signs of road-burn, proclaiming her tonsils might not make it through “By The Throat.” My voice suffers just from belting the song in my car on a near-daily basis; I can only imagine what the strain of their intensive tour schedule must do.
These guys really do have extraordinary energy live. I just went and looked at their official web site, and I see these guys are going to be all over Europe for the next few months! Look at our little local band roaming the continent!
Also of note were Your Enemies Friends, the LA-based, soon-to-be-relocating-to-Seattle punk rock/new wave influenced band, who finished their six week tour with Pretty Girls Make Graves that night at the Crocodile. It’s obvious that a genuine camaraderie has formed between the two bands (um, one which actually includes a legal and lifelong loving commitment, between PBMG guitarist Nathen Johnson and YEF keyboardist Aska Matsumyia … ain’t that just the CUTEST??!?).
Thank goodness we made it into the front room in time for Your Enemies Friends. Holy cow, they used LOUD so well. Don’t tell Dana this, but I liked them even more than PGMG. Musically, they kicked ass. Showmanship-wise, they haven’t learned the “don’t let monitor problems bug you so much that you stop in the middle of the song to tell the audience about it” lesson. You’d think that a band that contains ex-members of The Pressure would know better.
The Imaginary Girls had the distinction of meeting Your Enemies Friends front man Ronnie Washburn with PGMG guitarist Jason Clark at the Cha Cha (where else?) back in March, and have been looking forward to hearing him play ever since. And you know, not only is a dead ringer for Crispin Glover (seriously! see inset photo – and excuse my amateurish photography skills…), but he also can play! And yell!
Despite sound system issues which caused them to leave the stage prematurely, YEF played a set of loud (did I mention, *really* loud?) punk rock tunes, made more melodic (and to me, more interesting) by the addition of heavy keyboards. I’m totally loving the new wave revival of the keyboard in certain indie-rock circles!
You are not the only one, apparently. I wish I as able to pick up a copy of their just released The Wiretap EP — but they ran out. Darn!
That’s right! I emailed the band and asked them about ordering a copy, but haven’t heard back yet… so if you guys are out there reading this, the Three Imaginary Girls need your CD! Help us out!
And Ronnie, the offer for that homemade vegetarian pasta still stands if/when you guys get back to town. But while searching for the CD online, I learned some pretty cool information about the band in an article from their local music newspaper, entitled, “You have to be careful of Your Enemies Friends.” It’s a pretty good read about the history (and tragedies) of the band members. Should you choose to learn more about them before they relocate here, this is the most interesting info I could find.