Holy hell do I love love LOVE the September Girls! How much? So much so that I like them better than the Big Star song they take their name from. (Gasp!) So much, that I like them better than Big Star itself. (Say It Ain’t So, ya daft Weezer!) So much so that I actually like them more than anything else that is even a degree of separation from Alex Chilton & y’all must know I thought the world of him. So what exactly does that mean? I like them more than Yo La Tengo and their shimmering cover of Take Care. I like then more than Elliott Smith and his take on “Thirteen” (BOLD!); I even like them better than the Dum Dum Girls doing a cover of the self-same namesake. Heck, even more than The Replacements (they wrote a song about Alex Chilton, called, strangely enough, Alex Chilton). I must admit that the SGs are just the thinnest of hairs ahead in my heart, since The Replacements are pretty damn awesome, too.
And can we talk about how great this video is? Powerpuff Girls meets Scooby Doo all with the BEST SOUNDTRACK EVER. I was lucky enough to get to see them at the London Popfest and they do not disappoint live. Honestly, next to the peerless Standard Fare, they were the highlight of the Popfest for me. The harmonies were dead on, the intricate guitar lines were deftly executed & really popped, although the lasses were having a laugh during “Green Eyed” since they didn’t get the start off to it the way they liked, but it still sounded really great. And that’s coming from someone who might have been the only lad in the crowd who knew how it was supposed to go, one of the ladies joking told me after the gig. I know I’ve expressed trepidation about being critical of things on this site, but that has to do with not giving air to subjective dismissal. I wouldn’t be reluctant to say so if a band sounded bad, even for just an intro, since allowing for those moments are part of the magic of seeing live music, but the September Girls most surely did not sound bad at all! The bass lead many of the songs with a strong fuzz-line, & the drums provided a lively skeleton to the dark-yet-upbeat shoegazey pop, to which the haunting keys added a mystical and dark undertone that captured and capstoned a feeling I wish I could live inside of.
On top of it all, they have a wildly glib sense of humor that is disarmingly charming. “In case you’re wondering about the ‘One Direction’ shirts…don’t” Er, you had to be there (& known a bit about English boybands; they’re sorta a bit NKOTB meets Jedward. Ok, not really, I just wanted to say “Jedward”. It’s fun, innit?). And to reluctantly expose my superficial side as well, I must admit that the keyboard player was truly one of the most attractive humans I’ve had the privilege of seeing in person, though they are all very good-looking1. It’s a curse we Irish (and Irish-Americans) have, truly, being glib and beautiful. Well, some of us, at least2. Apologies, Shane McGowan. For reparations should we meet, I’ll promise to stand you a drink, should you promise to be able to stand. We’ll do a duet of “Fairytale of New York” & I’ll take Kristy MacColl’s, since I’m too gormless to even manage to sing yours so might as well have a shambling travesty of it, no?
Anyhow, I do so hope the September Girls come visit and play stateside soon so the rest of the US can do what every sane person in Ireland & the UK has already done: fall head over heels for the sound of this stunning group.
1: Please see this for an important correction.
2: Same as above.