San Francisco’s Girls is led by Christopher Owens, a songwriter who is both anchored in the sunny pop of the 1950’s and 1960’s, but also forward looking and thoroughly modern. Although San Francisco is only Owens’ adopted home, he is clearly an artist who understands the Bay Area: Girls’ Album is a snapshot of San Francisco in 2009. It truly is the perfect album to soundtrack summer days spent hanging out in Dolores Park, relaxing in Golden Gate Park, shopping for records at Amoeba, sitting around a bonfire at Ocean Beach, or hanging out with friends in a small two bedroom apartment anywhere in the city. It is eccentric, but not so much so that it is entirely outside of normal. In fact, like the city that Owens has adopted as home, each song is like a micro-climate of a greater, cohesive whole with the result that songs are sometimes sunny, sometimes foggy, but most are a little of both. So moving beyond the San Francisco comparisons, the really important thing to know about Girls’ Album is it actually lives up the significant amount of pre-release hype it has received. I have no question that when we look back in December this record will be near the top of many of the year’s “best of” lists.
Album opens with the buoyantly narcotic “Lust For Life” that features do-wop backing vocals, sunny, jangly acoustic guitar strumming, a sparse percussive backbone including hand claps supporting Owens lyrics: “I wish had a sun tan, I wish had a pizza and a bottle of wine, I wish I had a beach house and we could make a fire every night, but I’m just crazy.” “Lust for Life” is followed by the catchy and sincerely beautiful cut “Laura.” The misleadingly titled “Big Bad Mean Motherf*cker” is a hazy, fuzzy, and perfect piece of pseudo 1960’s beach pop: ideal for a “sunny San Francisco day.” “Hellhole Ratrace” is beautiful, but heavily scuffed ballad, made all the more perfect by its flaws. I definitely recommend picking up this fantastic debut. While supplies last Insound is offering a free exclusive 7″ single for “Lust for Life” backed with the b-side “Life in San Francisco” when you pre-order Album. The album is out on Sept. 15 in San Francisco, and Sept. 22 for everyone else.
Watch the video for Girls’ “Lust for Life”:
Head back to eating/sf to read Kasey’s post about our great dinner at Maverick in the Mission.