Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “It’s a Diamond Life” by Girls Against Boys from the 2013 EP The Ghost List on Epitonic.
A sonic descendant of both Chicago’s ’80s noise rock and D.C.’s hardcore scenes, Girls Against Boys’ grinding sound spent much of the 1990s as a vital part of the American independent rock scene. Immediately recognizable by the band’s aggressive low end, propelled by two bass players and singer Scott McCloud’s growl, the quartet’s extensive touring and DIY ethos led them to sign a record deal with Touch and Go, where they would spend most of the 90s. Slots on three different Lollapaloozas and a consistent recording output kept the band busy until the end of the decade, when the band took some time off before their (then) swan song, 2002’s You Can’t Fight What You Can’t See. After the associated tour, the members of GVSB took some time off from the band, but beginning in 2009, the band began intermittently playing shows again, releasing their first new EP of recorded material earlier this year.
“It’s a Diamond Life”, The Ghost List’s lead track, isn’t a far cry from the sludgy grind on 1993’s Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby, but where that album was filled with punk ferocity, the new material is spiked with sarcastic bile. While McCloud runs through the titular accusation (“They call it the diamond life…/it’s all primitive/it’s all surface…”), the rest of the band keeps pace with his snarl, following with a thundering rhythm and equally sarcastic backing “whoo”s. Not unlike what fellow indie lifers Superchunk did a few years ago with 2010’s Majesty Shredding, GVSB have returned with a record that understands that the band is older, harnessing that age to produce an energy that slyly flicks off any notions of tarnished credibility as they plug in the
guitars basses once again.
After playing the ATP’s End of an Era this weekend, Girls Against Boys are spending the next few weeks in Europe. Keep up with the band at their website and Facebook, and watch the band play “Super-fire” live on 120 Minutes all the way back in 1996.