photo manipulation by nacrowe
i came across GIRL IN A COMA years ago in the late 2000s when JANE'S ADDICTION guitarist DAVE NAVARRO spoke about them in an interview. i think he may even have a tattoo of them for some reason.
anyway, this NINA DIAZ-fronted trio from SAN ANTONIO (an yes there name is a reference to THE SMITHS track "Girlfriend in a Coma" - so kudos if you caught that) has released a three stellar rock albums via JOAN JETT's BLACKHEART RECORDS and they have really evolved as songwriters over the past 10 years.
their track "Smart" from their latest EXITS & ALL THE REST (2011) was my soundtrack to being a PEACE CORPS volunteer years ago. to me it just captured that vibe of being both hesitant and excited by a new environment. by nature i'm a reluctant, shy person but being tossed into a small albanian community with a strong distrust of foreigners forced me out of my shell and make connections with my neighbors, some of whom i still communicate with via social media (which is crazy).
their sound is a mixture of INDIE, SHOEGAZE and meat & potatoes ROCK N ROLL, but what makes the band for me is frontwoman NINA DIAZ's ability to let her vocals go where they want, sharp or flat or whatever she is feeling, even if that means coming off as a whine. to me that vocal choice is totally authentic to their vibe as a band, which is loose but deliberate and cutting. almost like they are inviting you to critique them.
i always appreciate it when musicians, especially women, make choices that go against gender prescriptions. there is a whole littany of male artists that have successfully done this from LITTLE RICHARD to DAVID BOWIE to PERRY FARRELL. with regards to women i'd say musicians like PATTI SMITH, BJORK or PJ HARVEY come to mind when i think of artists that consciously attempt to expand their audiences gender prescriptions.
i'm not putting GIRL IN A COMA on that level, but in their own way they are going for it and i definitely appreciate that. in a way they are the manifestation of JOAN JETT and her legacy as well.