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November 29, 2008
Girl in a Coma gets adventurous with Sonic Ranch album
The women of Girl in a Coma didn’t think twice about where to record new album, “Trio B.C.” The melodic post-punkers from San Antonio cut the new album, due this spring, over the summer at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo.

“It was really cool. It was such a blast. We missed it when we left,” says drummer Phanie (short for Stephanie) Diaz, speaking by phone. Maybe they’ll get a chance to catch up with studio owner Tony Rancich, producer Gabe Gonzalez (of El Paso’s Sleepercar; he co-produced their first album) and Geronimo, the Ranch’s resident racoon. The Alamo trio performs at 9 tonight at Uncle Paulie’s Pub, 126 Shadow Mountain.


Diaz, her singer-guitarist sister, Nina Diaz, and bassist Jenn Alva have toured constantly since the May 2007 release of “Both Before I’m Gone,” their debut album on Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records. They arrived at Sonic Ranch chock full of new songs and ideas hashed out on the road. They set up shop as metalists Mudvayne finishing their 2009 followup to new album “The New Game.”


“We were all in the kitchen and Gabe was telling stories about Tony saying people cross the border and they catch immigrants on the property and all of the sudden there’s a big, old knock on the door,” Diaz remembers. “Gabe said, ‘Who’s out there?’ And all I hear is ‘I crossed the border. Let me in.’ We were all like, what the (rhymes with truck) and he said, ‘I’m kidding. I’m from Mudvayne.’”


It was singer Chad Gray.


Jim Ward of Sleepercar, which just finished a three-week tour with Coldplay, also dropped in. “He was listening to our tracks, which was cool, and telling us he really dug it,” Diaz says.


She describes “Trio B.C.,” named for the Diaz sisters’ grandfather’s band, as “complete different.” “I’m singing now on the new record and we’re playing different stuff, like maracas and experimenting with different things,” the drummer says. “Jenn is singing more and Nina’s using pedals and looping stuff. There are a lot of new things we’re trying.”


They’ve also been listening to noise rockers Sonic Youth and Elvis Presley (Alva’s a big Elvis fan). “You can definitely hear this kind of ‘90s vibe, but also this rockabilly feel,” Diaz says. That explains the “Westerny” version of “Blue Christmas” and their take on “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” on the “A Blackheart Christmas” album, released this month on iTunes.


GIAC are playing up to three new songs on tour. They plan to play the first album, including new single “Their Cell,” on Dec. 21 in San Antonio. “I’m sure some of those won’t be played in a long time,” Diaz says.


While they’re itching to play the new songs, Diaz concedes they’re anxious about the new record. “We’re really excited about the album and really nervous because you hear about sophomore slumps and horror stories about next albums, but this came out naturally and took a different direction as opposed to the first one,” she says.


It’s been all been uphill for the trio, who signed to Jett’s label after meeting her on a TV show. “She’s like a big sister to us,” Diaz says. Their first single, “Clumsy Sky,” won an Independent Music Award this year. They’ve been championed by Morrissey (their name was inspired by the Smiths’ “Girlfriend in a Coma”), Dave Navarro and Cyndi Lauper.


“You never expect that from people you listen to growing up,” Diaz says. “You think, ‘OK, cool, man, I guess I’m doing something right.’ One day we’re writing songs with a Morrissey poster on the wall and years later we’re opening for him.”
Posted by Doug Pullen