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Listening Room # 14 – 45 Edition – The Vivian Girls – Surf’s Up

Vivian Girls – Surf’s Up (2008) on Wild World Records

I am a fan of three-piece bands. Not just because I have been in them, but because you really have to know your stuff. There is more sonic space to play with, therefore you can in a way do so much with so little. Sometimes, when your band gets bigger, in the number of members, some of the subtle things, as well as, mistakes can get hidden. As for the Vivian Girls, nothing is more fun than just turning up the fuzz, add echo the vocals and let it rock.

The Vivian Girls are a three member surf, punk garage band from Brooklyn, NY. Their music is a combination of chord-rock, doo-wop drums, and retro-psychedelic sounding vocals. They are currently on indie labels right now, and their following is growing, at least, in all the magazines and websites that I read!

This 45 single includes 3 songs, in perfect garage band style. The guitars are treble heavy, with some tube distortion and fierce chord strumming. The bass rounds out the tone full of primal drive and perfectly inserted fills. The drums are a little punky, yet, remind me of the 50s and 60s styles of girl groups. The vocals of course are loaded with reverb and echo. They have an almost etherial sound, as if they are singing from the clouds, or at least a really strange sky stage.

It is refreshing to hear this band for a variety of reasons. You can tell they are not heavy on production and mixing. They basically sound just as awesome on their recordings as they do live. From what I have read, they like to record their songs in one take, all of them miked and playing at the same time. It’s real, just them doing their thing, and I love and respect that. They remind me a lot of The Pandoras’ early work in their style. Either way, the Vivian Girls Rock and are here to stay! I just love it. It’s back to basics, DIY style. Just good old rocking out with your friends in your basement. Can’t get any better than that!

I saw them a few months back as well when they came to Seattle. They rocked the house, and had so much fun. I had a blast as well just chillin’ and reliving memories of myself jamming with my girlfriends.  The band was hanging out at the bar, and I was in the booth beside them and still didn’t have the guts to go and ask for a picture or autograph. I know. I am always conflicted because I don’t want to be “one of those fans” but I’d love to meet them and hopefully say something cool and inventive, instead of “You guys are awesome!” Which is true, but ya know.

Here are a few pictures from the Seattle show on April 30, 2009:

Track Listing:

  • Side A
    • Surfin’ Away
    • Second Date
  • Side B
    • Girl Don’t Tell Me

And their websites:

And Youtube!

And here’s an official video from their self-titled debut album:

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