Greenpoint Gazette

Vivian Girls Take Over the World

BY Margaret Eby

Ever since their self-titled first album dropped last fall, Vivian Girls have been riding a wave of critical adoration and underground rock stardom. With Brooklyn already under their belts the all-female trio seems poised for world domination, launching an epic fall tour with stops in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Australia and Japan. Their sound is equal parts 1960’s girl group, fuzzed out guitar punk, and surf rock: think the Shirelles crossed with the Velvet Underground, with maybe a pinch of Dick Dale.

Their second album, Everything Goes Wrong, drops in September. Cassie Ramone, who covers guitar and vocals in the group, noted that this album has a darker feel than their last release. “Friends of ours have described the second album as being more punk than the first album, and more apocalyptic,” Ramone explained. Why apocalyptic? “It’s just what came naturally to us.”

Along with fellow Vivian Girls members Kickball Katy and Ali Koehler, Ramone recorded Everything Goes Wrong at the Distillery, an all-analog studio outside of Los Angeles. “The process was a little more relaxed because we had more time than we did recording our first album. We had a different drummer,”—Frankie Rose, Vivian Girls’ original drummer, left the Girls in summer 2008 for fellow Brooklyn band Crystal Stilts—“So it was entirely different. It was a really good experience overall,” said Ramone.

Ramone cites the Beach Boys as one of the group’s influences, particularly evident in their “Surf’s Up” seven inch, released in September 2008, which featured covers of “Surfin’ Away” and “Girl Don’t Tell Me.”

“The Beach Boys have some of the best harmonies ever,” Ramone noted, “I’m thinking of using the Pet Sounds process in a future Vivian Girls recording. It would be cool to bring in other musicians, like a string quartet or a horn section, [and] to try to record live around one microphone.”

Vivian Girls also are avowed fans of the 1990s grunge scene, listening to bands like the Wipers and Nirvana in their tour minivan. “We all like listening to Everclear and Hole,” Ramone said. “‘90s alternative rock is a common ground for all of us, I’d say.”

And don’t worry that the Girls will lose touch with their East Coast roots with all traveling. Their tour Kicked off and ends in Brooklyn, beginning with Tuesday’s set at Williamsburg’s Death by Audio and finishing with a Halloween show at the Ridgewood Masonic Temple.

“Death by Audio is sort of a second home to us,” Ramone said. “We played their every other weekend last year, and we haven’t played there since last summer.” And despite their relatively high profile, Vivian Girls prefer to stick to hole-in-the-wall venues.

“Shows are more fun when they’re packed, so we figure that it’s better to play a venue that’s a little bit too small than one that’s a little bit too big,” Ramone explained. “If the show is completely full and everybody’s going crazy, it’s such a fun environment to be in.”

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