WASHINGTON EXAMINER

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Girl in a Coma shows off its influences in Black Cat show
By: Nancy Dunham
Special to The Examiner
October 1, 2010

It’s easy to love the sound of Girl in a Coma, the all-female band that has been favorably compared with the Runaways and just happened to be signed by Joan Jett to her own Blackheart Records.

IBut Girl in a Coma is much more than any one sound. Aside from the famous influence of Morrissey and the Smiths, the three members count David Bowie, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline and the Velvet Underground as just some of their other musical muses. There are so many, in fact, that songs by each influence couldn’t all be wedged onto the band’s CD “Adventures in Coverland,” due to be released in October. Still, the selections from this album, drawn from a three-EP/vinyl set released this spring, will give fans a taste of where the trio draws its spirit.

“We really just wanted to show our influences,” bass player Jenn Alva said. “Some of the younger fans might not know Patsy Cline or Joy Division, but they’re a big part of our sound.”

The San Antonio-based band — consisting of sisters Nina and Phanie Diaz and their friend Alva — has made a name for itself with its own brand of pop-rock inspired by Morrissey, who has had the band open for him. The members have become indie favorites with their intricate guitar work, hard-charging vocals and cut-to-the-core lyrics.

The lessons learned from their own music — including the band’s last original studio album, “Trio B.C.” — were extremely useful when the women worked to make the covers their own.

“Nina started it and she rearranged each song and then passed it on to us,” Alva said. “Some of the songs, like the Beatles, I’d listen to the bass line [and stay fairly true to it] because I didn’t want to make Beatles fans mad.”

Producer Greg Collins, himself a fan of many classic bands including the Fab Four, played a key role in staying true to the essence of the songs while adding other relevant sounds such as a touch of Eric Clapton in certain spots.

After this tour, which, showcases the band’s original songs plus some of the covers, the trio will again take to the studio to record their third album, which they hope to release in early 2011.

“Nina has 20 songs done,” Alva said. “We are going through them and we are writing our parts and then we’ll see about arrangements and harmonies. I’m in love with the songs already."