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Girl in a Coma grows with energy


Jim Beal Jr., EXPRESS-NEWS MUSIC WRITER

Updated 06:41 a.m., Thursday, October 27, 2011

Girl in a Coma with Pin~ata Protest, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Pearl Park Amphitheater at Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St.

“Mature” and “rock 'n' roll” are two things that bands and fans do not necessarily want to go together. Rock is supposed to be wild, carefree, rebellious and fun.

The members of Girl in a Coma — sisters Nina Diaz (guitar, vocals, lyrics) and Phanie Diaz (drums) and lifelong friend Jenn Alva (bass) — might not readily admit to maturing, but the band has learned some things since its first rehearsal a decade ago, when Nina was 13.

“I'll never write a song about a boyfriend, never get a boyfriend's name tattooed on me and never even mention a boyfriend on an album's liner notes,” said Nina with a wry smile.

Even taking songs about boyfriends out of the equation, Nina finds no shortage of things about which to write. Tuesday, the hard-touring alt/etc. local rocker will celebrate the release of the band's fourth CD, “Exits & All the Rest” (Blackheart Records).

The Texas leg of the celebration tour has already started. Saturday, Girl in a Coma and punk/conjunto purveyors Piñata Protest, just off the tour road, will team for a free 6:30 p.m. concert at the Pearl Park Amphitheater at Pearl Brewery.

“Even though we're separate genres, they're more punk rock, we're out for the same thing. We like playing shows with them,” Phanie said about Piñata Protest. “They're starting to tour and they're building up a fan base. They embrace San Antonio and the culture just like we do.”

“Exits & All the Rest,” produced, engineered and mixed by Mike McCarthy, has a big sound that fuses the band's energy with the yes, maturity, of a trio that has logged a lot of hours working together.

“It's us just getting better as musicians,” Phanie said.

“We wanted to do something different with this record. We knew we wanted to record in analog and we wanted to capture us as live as possible.”

Girl in a Coma started gigging about the time downloading music started taking off, the business end of music began its ongoing upheavals and focus turned again to individual songs.

“We make our living being on the road,” Phanie said. “A lot of our fans wait to buy our CDs and our vinyl from us. Now it's all about iTunes.”

“We've had songs in the movies ‘Machete' and ‘Prom,' which is cool,” Nina said. “Now we're trying to get placements.”

“We try to do in-stores at record stores when we tour,” Phanie said. “We love record stores.”

“This is an album,” Alva said. “This is not a single. All these songs belong together.”

The lyrics are Nina's department and have been from the band's beginning. “Smart,” the CD's first single, was not immediately embraced by the band.

“As long as the song is, is as long as it took me to write it,” Nina said. “It felt like a cheesy song.”

“It had the word ‘sunshine' in it,” Alva said.

“‘Sunshine' freaked them out,” Nina said. “As soon as I changed ‘sunshine' to something depressing, they liked it.”

“I think we like it now,” Alva added.

And it's a cinch Girl in a Coma fans are going to like wishing the trio bon voyage at the Pearl.