Play With Yourself Week: Ladies Do It Too

Okay, seriously, what was going on in the Vivian Girls? No, I’m not ambushing you with more Katy Goodman. I’m making a point. For those who are not familiar with these things, there’s a protocol to be followed when the members of a group decide they can’t stand being in the same room together anymore (Not that I’m implying that’s what went on here of course). Your successful band breaks apart, then you all go on to make some real crap. I mean, you find the bottom of the barrel, then you poke through the rotted planks to find what’s beneath that and build your album out of it. Later you come together for a reunion and pretend the musical crimes you perpetrated were all part of “finding yourself.” Yet when Vivian Girls shattered, two thirds of the band, Frankie Rose and Katy Goodman, actually went on to make better music on their own. What up with that? Part of it is surely luck. Another clue is in the band’s city of origin: New York. Being able to trawl the deep waters of one of the world’s most concentrated talent pools makes it a little easier to find band members who can actually contribute to the songwriting process instead of sitting there noodling away on their instruments. That last sentence might sound like a contradiction, but there is a huge difference between writing songs and just writing music. Whatever it is, the Vivian Girls had it, and when it came time to spread their wings as solo artists, Frankie Rose and Katie Goodman thrived. I’ve already covered the elegant brilliance that is La Sera, so today I’ll hit you with some Frankie. Rose’s solo album Interstellar is a stark contrast to her Vivian Girls work. Gone is the punky attack of the guitar and uptempo hits, replaced with a slower synth-driven album. You can still feel little flashes of Vivian Girls in there, especially in the use of voice as an accompanying instrument to the main vocal to beef up the track and even carry some melody. Pretty lil’ tune Pair Of Wings showcases this well. It’s slow, hypnotic and checks self consciousness at the door. Plus I’m a sucker for that line “Show me your scars, I’ll show you mine, perched above the city on a pair of powerlines.” Sure, it’s teenager level sentimentality, but…actually, I have no buts. Sometimes I’m just a big softy.

If you care to indulge your inner sap, you can find more Frankie Rose on itunes.

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