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Dark-pop trio Girl in a Coma plays with The Vacancies on Tuesday night

By NORM NARVAJA
News Journal

CLEVELAND -- Don't let the name of San Antonio trio Girl in a Coma fool you.

They're actually very pleasant women. And they'll be paying the Grog Shop a visit with hometown favorites The Vacancies on Tuesday night.

"We've gotten along great," bassist Jenn Alva said from her home in San Antonio. "The only thing we've disagreed on is who the best basketball teams are."

With The Vacancies hailing from Cavs territory and Girl in a Coma being ardent Spurs fans, one suspects tension on the road. "When the Spurs won the NBA championship, I made sure to text-message (Vacancies lead singer) Billy Crooked," she joked.

The pairing of the two bands on tour is an interesting combination: The Vacancies bring their brand of working-class punk rock while Girl in A Coma explores musical avenues that parallel The Pixies and The Smiths.

Lead singer and guitarist Nina Diaz's voice is reminiscent of Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' but has that "special something" that sets her apart.

Phanie Diaz rounds out the lineup behind the drum kit. The group's debut album, "Both Before I'm Gone," is a collection of the darker side of pop intersecting garage rock energy.

"Prior to the album, we felt our demos had not really captured the energy of our live show," Alva said. "Our producers and friends, Erick Sanger and Gabe Gonzales, helped out in capturing that sound and making it fit."

Which is surprising, since both Alva and Phanie Diaz consider themselves "anti-studio."

"This time it worked out because we were all coming up with ideas together," Alva said. "But touring has been great. We've encountered fans who are all intelligent music lovers and we get to see the country in a way many people don't."