LA MUSIC BLOG
Review: Girl in a Coma – Adventures in Coverland
Last month, Girl in a Coma released their new album Adventures in Coverland on Joan Jett’s label, Blackheart Records. Ever since I got a copy, I have been listening to it off the hook! The album, as the title indicates, is mostly all covers of classic songs, in addition to two original Girl in a Coma songs. The original songs are amazing, and all of the covers just blew me away. Even though I already liked a lot of these songs in their original forms, Girl in a Coma puts a fiery passion to them that I never felt before.
From San Antonio, Texas, the band consists of bassist Jenn Alva, drummer Phanie Diaz, and her sister Nina Diaz on guitar and vocals. The girls all grew up with a reverence for Selena and chose her song “Si Una Vez” as a brave and brilliant start to their album. Nina’s snarling and passionate vocals add a power to the song that is fierce and stunning. If you didn’t know it was Nina singing, you’d swear Selena’s spirit was back from the beyond with a vengeance.
Following it is The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which was an absolutely beautiful song that I’m sure some Beatles purists out there wouldn’t necessarily want changed, but I think Girl in a Coma’s cover is a great take on it. It’s got a faster pace and a guitar sound that is more grunged up and savage while still maintaining the original melody. The song also reaches a climax in a dramatic fervor not displayed in the original as Nina’s vocals take off in an emotional wail that will leave you breathless as you try to sing along in your car.
Furthermore, with each cover, Girl in a Coma brings something new to the table. Joy Division’s “Transmission” is more subtle and quiet, while Ritchie Valen’s “Come On, Let’s Go” has a modern punk/rockabilly kick to it. The Girls also take Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight” and toughen up her country twang, then speed up “Femme Fatale” by the Velvet Underground into a much more fun and enjoyable song.
They also chose to include Buffalo Springfield’s classic protest song “For What It’s Worth” in response to the controversy surrounding immigration. Being of Mexican-American descent and living close to Arizona, it’s an important issue that resonates with them. Springfield’s lyrics, although originally written in the ’60s in reaction to unrest between young club goers and law enforcement in Los Angeles when Pandora’s Box closed, can easily be applied to the contentious current events and attitudes against immigrants.
My favorite song out of all the covers is their clever choice to do David Bowie’s “As the World Falls Down” from his creepy 1980’s movie Labyrinth. I can’t get enough of it. The Girls take Bowie’s love-soaked lyrics and melt them over a romantic guitar and drum beat. The original is a good song, but sounds hazy and muted to me. I think Girl in a Coma brings it into sharp focus, gives the words more bite, and surrounds it with a gorgeous melody that’s reminiscent of a 1950s love song.
They also previously came out with a really cool video for “Walking After Midnight.” which has the bassist for the band, Jenn Alva, debuting in the director’s chair.
Girl in a Coma Tour Dates:
11/05: Asbury Park, NJ
@ The Wonder Bar
For more info on Girl in a Coma: