VALLEY MORNING STAR

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Girl in a Coma full of life
By CRYSTAL OLVERA
May 15, 2007 - 2:32PM


As Nina Diaz stood next to Joan Jett on stage at Emo’s music venue in Austin, she knew she had come a long way from listening to Morrissey records in her bedroom.


“It was pretty intense,” said Diaz, lead singer of the San Antonio-based trio Girl in a Coma. “Being on stage with her is crazy. I was very nervous, I was like ‘wow, I played with Joan Jett.’”


The San Antonio punk-rock ladies, were signed to Jett’s Black Heart Records label recently and performed at the annual music extravaganza South by Southwest as part of a label showcase.


The band, scheduled to play Harlingen’s City Lights Tuesday, were relieved to finally release their debut album “Both Before I’m Gone” May 1.


“It’s like a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Diaz said. “These songs have been around for a long time. It’s exciting to get them out for people to hear. It feels good.”


The record was produced by veteran Kenny Laguna, and Eric Sanger and Gabe Gonzales, both formerly of Sparta, Diaz said. The album boasts a melodic array of punk rock gems that buzz with energy creating a sound that is a mix between The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Metric.
The band, composed of Jenn Alva, 27, on bass, Phanie D., 26, on drums and Nina Diaz, 19, on vocals and guitar, recorded the album in Austin and New York. Diaz, chief songwriter of the group, said recording was a natural process.


“As soon as we were in there we banged them out,” said Diaz.


From straight-up rockers like “Clumsky Sky” and “Say” to the dreamy ’50s-inspired ballad “Their Cell,” the trio manages to provide a fun lineup of moody, pop-punk tracks that are sure to quench the thirst of their loyal fan base.


Both polished and brash at the same time, the record’s punk sound is propelled to prettier pastures with Diaz’s vocals. Diaz’s ability to sway from roar to whisper compliments each song’s brazen guitars and pop melodies.


With a wide selection of influences that range from Fiona Apple and Jeff Buckley to Billie Holiday, Diaz said she’s still has a lot to learn.


“Singing to me is like acting. When you get into your character you try to know everything about it, and become it,” Diaz said.


Diaz, also the band’s lyricist, says she mostly gets her inspiration from books or her own experiences.


“I get my inspiration from life,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to sing anyone else’s lyrics cause I couldn’t really feel it.”


Diaz said the band is scheduled to begin a tour in early August which will consist of several Warped Tour dates and a possible stint with Canadian indie-rock duo Tegan and Sara.