interview – september girls

september girls is an aptly-named quintet of girls from dublin who specialize in lo-fi pop supplemented by a healthy dosage of noise.  though together for less than two years, the band has already put out an impressive series of eps and singles, and have turned heads at pitchfork with a new song called “ships.”  i was able to catch up with lauren, who sings and plays keyboards in september girls, and get the inside scoop on the impetus of the band, the darker sounds they’ve been exploring on their newer material, and their place within the dublin music scene.  check out the transcript below.


september girls is a relatively new project.  can you give a bit of background information on how the band formed?

caoimhe, jessie, paula and i were all friends in dublin who played music together in various incarnations over the years.  in the autumn of 2011 we were looking to explore some new ideas, and we managed to poach sarah from another band.  when she started drumming with us it all clicked.

your last two eps have really cashed in on a sunny, lo-fi pop sound.  who would you cite as major influences in the band’s songwriting and general approach to music?

we all listen to different music, but our tastes overlap in a love of juxtaposing pop melodies and girl group-style harmonies with healthy doses of noise and distortion to dirty everything up.  we’ve probably been influenced by all of the following at some point: the cure, my bloody valentine, the pixies, the breeders, the jesus and mary chain, phil spector, joy division, the bangles, the beach boys, the beatles.


“ships” is a bit of a departure from your previous material.  are the darker tones and crisper production values things we can expect on your upcoming album?

the album incorporates all sides of us, really.  most of it was recorded as close to live as possible to capture the noisy, unpredictable, reverby feeling of the band.  the songs are all a bit like pop tunes that have been swirled around in a hoover for a while.  the overall sound is still our familiar vocal harmonies coated in reverb, blended together with fuzzy pop.  however, the songs on the album are probably a little less sunny disposition than previous releases.

the two bands from dublin that readily come to mind are u2 and my bloody valentine.  can you talk a bit about the current music scene there and how you fit into it?

ireland is small which can limit the opportunities available to bands, so we often find ourselves traveling further afield to reach a larger audience.  however, dublin also has a really vibrant and diverse music scene, and we’ve found there is a good support system of bands and promoters that keep it alive and interesting.

what are you listening to as of late that constitutes more of a guilty pleasure than anything else?

personally, i never feel guilty for listening to any particular music; i just like what i like.  as such, i’m probably a frequent source of embarrassment for those around me, but whatever.  i was actually listening to a lot of the cult last weekend, which may or may not have resulted in me painting part of my bedroom black…ok, maybe i’m a little guilty.

what’s next for september girls?

everything we’ve been doing for the past year has been leading up to the album release in january.  we release the “ships” tape on haus of pins this week, then we have another 7” single in the works for later this autumn.  we’re playing in belfast on the 20th of september for culture night, and touring in the u.k. in october.  beyond that, we just want to keep writing and touring and recording!


although that sunny disposition that lauren mentioned may have started to disappear from september girls’ sound, this is definitely still a band i’ll keep a close eye on.  their debut album should be a highlight of early 2014 for me, i’ll make do with the songs that are out for now.  be sure to check out the cassette-only release of “ships” b/w “flesh” on haus of pins for cassette store day this coming saturday, or pick it up digitally next monday.  either way, you’re not really losing out.



pity sex – feast of love

i go through broad cycles in my musical taste that continuously encompasses bands that prefer to drench their sound with fuzzed-out guitars and melancholy lyrics.  when i reach this point on the cyclical pattern, i usually can’t get enough of these acts, spinning their wax on my turntable as much as possible and pumping them through my headphones at work.  thankfully, pity sex caught me at the perfect moment, because i can’t stop listening.

the ann arbor quartet released their debut album, feast of love, today, its ten tracks clocking in at just under thirty minutes of gorgeous shoegaze revival with a smart pop sensibility.  even though they’ve only been around for a couple of years, pity sex have made a name for themselves, utilizing last year’s dark world ep to solidify their hard-earned place in a community that is equal parts punk and indie.  while dark world was rough around the edges, the band’s full-length debut feels polished in a casual lo-fi sense; the vocals blend with the instruments, but nothing sounds too muddy.


guy-girl vocals have been done in indie-pop for years in various states of depression (for self-deprecation, see the pains of being pure at heart; for things more morose, see veronica falls).  while not on slumberland like these other two bands, pity sex still falls somewhere in the middle of this spectrum; on album opener “wind-up,” brennan greaves warns the listener that he’s nothing special and wallows in a monotone of self-pity, but other songs like “honey pot” have an undeniable upbeat attitude that evokes something lighter from the band’s persona.

co-vocalist britty drake steals the show.  her turn on “keep” bumps the song up to one of my favorites on the album, and provides a nice complement to the low mumblings of greaves.  also worth mentioning is the lead guitar work found across feast of love.  it’s a cut above anything i would ever expect out of a contemporary noise-pop outfit like this, and makes me flash back to early dinosaur jr.

pity sex aren’t doing anything groundbreaking, nor are they trying to do so.  they don’t have to.  for a group of hardcore scene kids from michigan, feast of love isn’t a bad debut at all.