Review: Ex-Girlfriends - "You're Next EP"
With each release, Little Dickman Records continues to build a dizzying array of “f**k-you-if-you’re-not-in-for-a-good-time” garage rock that isn’t afraid of getting a little weird. The indie label hailing from Asbury Park, NJ has a keen ear (and eye) for assembling dedicated artists that are a just a little left of center. Little Dickman’s latest acquisition, Ex-Girlfriends, features co-founders Heather Cousins of NJ trio Side Bitch and Tarra Thiessen of Brooklyn noise-pop favorites Sharkmuffin. The latter band is best known for its quick blasts of energetic punk, but with Ex-Girlfriends, Thiessen and company find ample room for experimentation.
Ex-Girlfriends waste no time showing listeners what they're made of on their debut EP, You're Next. The opening track, “Why Don’t You Stalk Me Anymore” establishes their authority with catchy melodies that are juxtaposed with grim imagery of something that far too women have to deal with: guys that just won’t take a hint. I tend to like my garage rock served up with a side of sludge and progressive rock. To that end, the title track “You’re Next” hits on many a musical sweet spot for me. Crystal Nava is a force to be reckoned with on the drum kit and bassist Christine Hill’s deep bass grooves are dirty, gritty and teeming with an almost gleefully sinister edge.
“Slay” offers a bit of levity after the intensity of the first two tracks. This number finds Ex-Girlfriends at their most playful, with Nava’s bouncing beats and brash, bratty vocals from Cousins and Thiessen. I found myself looping this track several times before even reaching the final act, “Fa Fa Fa,” which is the perfect showcase for the band’s keyboardist, Monika Knapp. Knapp’s keys round out the ensemble and creates what is arguably the most accomplished song on the EP, as it gives listeners the very best that these ladies have to offer.
You’re Next is an intense, albeit brief example of what happens when five insanely talented musicians come together not for the sake of bullshit posturing, but for a genuine love of performing and playing. Just a fair warning, though: don’t be surprised when you find yourself playing this on constant loop.
2/6 The 806 Amarillo, TX *
2/9 High Hat LA, CA *
2/10 Black Light, Long Beach, CA *
2/11 Tower Bar, San Diego, CA
2/12 TBA, LA, CA *
2/13 Milk Bar, San Fran *
2/15, Night Light, Oakland, CA *
2/16 Black Forest, Eugene, OR *
2/17 Lofi, Seattle, WA *
2/18 TBA, Portland, OR *
2/19 High Dive, Seattle, WA *
3/3 The Footlight, Brooklyn, NY ~
3/4 Ortliebs, Philadelphia, PA ~
3/5 TBA, DC ~
3/6 Reggie's 42nd Street Tavern, Willmington, NC ~
3/7 Snug Harbour, Charlotte, NC ~
3/8 Tin Roof, Charleston, SC ~
3/9 World Famous, Athens, GA ~
3/10 5 Spot Nashville, TN ~
3/11 The Blind Mule, Mobile, AL ~
3/12 Thirsty Hippo, Hattiesburg, MS ~
3/13 Lola's, Fort Worth, TX ~
3/14 - 3/18 SXSW ~
3/19 TBA, Oklahoma, City, OK ~
3/20 Governor's Mansion, Iowa City, IA ~
3/21 The Reverie, Minneapolis, MN ~
3/22 Mickey's, Madison, WI ~
3/23 Cadillac Ranch/Bartini's Indianapolis, IN ~
3/24 TBA, Cincinatti, OH ~
3/25 Hucklebucks, Pottsville, PA ~
3/26 TBA, Asbury Park, NJ ~
3/31 Barranquilla, Brooklyn, NY ~
* = w/ Fruit & Flowers
~ = w/ Sharkmuffin