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Girl in a Coma, Little Voice
by Nora Spitznogle
Radio Radio
Sunday, Aug. 19, 8 p.m., $5, 21+

Girl in a Coma wants to remind you: “Don’t let the music come to you … Find the music.”

Joan Jett found the music of Girl in a Coma in a big way, and she signed them to her Blackheart Records label the first time she heard them. “It was amazing meeting Joan Jett,” says Phanie Diaz, older sister and drummer for the band. “Here is this icon that you grew up on, listening to her vinyls, right in front of you bobbing her head to your music. She’s an incredible, smart, great-hearted soul. We’re lucky.”

Friends since eighth grade, Diaz and Jenn Alva spent their time singing along to punk songs and dreaming of forming a band. They experimented with a few lineups and various sounds, but nothing ever clicked. After years of listening to the friends, 12-year-old Nina Diaz hopped down from the top bunk, borrowed big sister’s guitar and astonished them with her expressive voice and mature-beyond-her-years songwriting ability.

The girls spent the next five years writing, practicing and building a fan base. They won over a pack of new fans, including one very-impressed tour manager who passed along a homemade demo to Boz Boorer, guitarist and musical director for Morrissey. He was so impressed that the musicians were soon on their way to London to record their first demo under Boorer’s direction.

Girl in a Coma count “a lot of punk rock of the ’70s like the New York Dolls and Blondie, to earlier rock like Elvis, Patsy Cline and Billie Holiday” among their influences. While they are often compared to the Smiths, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Pixies (and Nina is often called “the female Morrissey”), they have created a sound and style uniquely their own.