in a Coma’s Adventures in Coverland
Vol I (April
Vol II (April
LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 9, 2010 - Girl In A Coma are a band with impeccable pedigree. The San Antonio-based trio (comprising of sisters Nina and Phanie Diaz and their friend Jenn Alva) were cherry picked by Joan Jett for her Blackheart Records label, and have toured extensively with Morrissey, at the personal invitation of the man who penned the song that inspired their name. It’s perhaps therefore fitting that GIAC’s upcoming series of vinyl and digital releases pay homage to the genealogy of their much-vaunted sound.
The title of their latest album, Trio B.C., itself is a reference to one of the band’s greatest influences, Nina and Phanie’s grandfather, a drummer whose 1950s Tejano band was the source of the CD’s title. With Adventures in Coverland, GIAC delve further into the band’s collective musical history, recording their own versions of seven classic songs that helped shape the sonic core of Trio B.C., a record which prompted Alternative Press Magazine to rave that the band had “really hit their stride” and the mighty Billboard to enthuse that the ladies were “full of swagger and in fine form.”
“Knowing where you come from and your roots, it’s important to not forget these things,” says GIAC drummer Phanie. “A lot of our writing style was influenced by the music we grew up on and the love we saw our grandfather had for music. If we forget who started it for us, then we forget the spirit of our music. If that's lost, then everything is hollow, fake and manufactured.”
Getting specific about the song selections for Adventures in Coverland, Phanie says, “We chose to cover ‘Walkin’ After Midnight,’ ‘Come On, Let’s Go’ and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ because of our mother. We were raised listening to Patsy Cline, Ritchie Valens and The Beatles. It’s very raw, very real music that was the soundtrack to our mom’s life.”
The songs featured in the project also reflect the trio’s choice of score during their formative teenage years. “As I stared discovering music on my own, in came Bowie and Joy Division,” recalls Phanie. “These artists became part of Jenn and my rotation of albums. I then introduced these artists to my younger sister, Nina, who in turn discovered bands like Velvet Underground and Nico. Then there is Selena, a very important figure in our lives…”
“‘Si Una Vez’” is one of our favorite Selena songs,” says GIAC bassist Jenn. “Her music was on constantly in our household. She was doing something very important for our culture and something new,” adds Phanie. “We felt the original version song already had a hidden punk quality,” Jenn continues. “For me, it was a fun challenge to develop an appropriate bass line in order to make it ours.”
As exemplified with the girls’ amped up reworking of “Si Una Vez,” a punk and post-punk sensibility provides much of the momentum for GIAC’s music. “We have a song called ‘Empty Promise’ that’s an older song we brought back for Trio B.C.,” says GIAC frontwoman/guitarist Nina, explaining how the Adventures in Coverland song selections relate directly back to the band’s own 2009 full-length release. “Its vibe is very Joy Division in the simple yet strong bass line and power cord rock.” Conversely GIAC’s slow-building reimagining of Joy Division’s “Transmission” (on side one of Vol II of Coverland) is surprisingly refined, restrained and paired down, which only serves to highlight the magnificence of the trio’s new arrangement when it crescendos at the end.
Lyrically Nina also draws inspiration from her heroes. When asked about “Walkin’ After Midnight,” a simple ditty which gave Cline her first breakout hit in 1957, Nina notes, “The lyrics to this song are very blunt but have a somber undertone. I imagine Trio B.C.’s ‘Slaughter Lane’ to be the same.” As for the George Harrison-penned song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which is an ideal evocative medium for Nina’s powerful yet vulnerable vocals, she says, “This song’s organization is perfect. I only wish I had written it. I guess you can say ‘Pink Lemonade’ and ‘Trail’ are my attempts.”
Beyond words, the band also channels the spirit of their forefathers (and foremothers) in their performances. “‘As The World Falls Down’ is another classic that’s close to my heart,” says Nina, who delivers a soaring, potent and poignant rendition of Bowie’s off-beat ballad from the Jim Henson cult fantasy film Labyrinth. “Each time I sing it I feel a lump in my throat, a longing for something you never really had or appreciated.”
“We hope that this record introduces people to some of our favorite music and opens a little door into who we are,” says Phanie of Adventures in Coverland. Wanting to make the vinyl series of releases of this heartfelt collection of songs even more special, Jenn came up with the idea of making the sleeves of each 7” installment a piece of a game board. Thus the artwork on the three vinyl volumes of Adventures in Coverland will join together to make something greater than the sum of its parts, a fitting memento given that this is the very nature of bands -- and the legacy of the music they leave behind.
Girl In A Coma are currently on tour with Xiu Xiu. They’ll be playing live and participating in a panel at SXSW (March 19-20), before embarking on two further tours with The Wedding Present (starting April 11 in NYC) and Sia (starting April 25 in Chicago).
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