Ten years ago, Vivian Girls were one of the most polarizing bands in indie rock. Back then, even a cursory Google search of the all-woman garage punk trio would produce some cringeworthy results from assorted indie blogs and their ruthless comments sections. Following the release of their 2011 album Share the Joy, then a two-year period of inactivity, the band called it quits in 2014.
“When we broke up, we broke up for real,” singer-bassist Katy Goodman tells Rolling Stone. “We had been going hard for a long time, and we were exhausted. But we always knew we had something special, and even when we broke up, we knew there was a strong chance we would reunite some day.”
On Wednesday, they announced their comeback record, titled Memory, out September 20th on Polyvinyl. Featuring the band’s core lineup of Goodman, singer-guitarist Cassie Ramone and drummer Ali Koehler, the trio teases their first new album in eight years with the lead single, “Sick.”
A slice of jangle-pop reverie, “Sick” sees the band of outsiders at their best. But beneath the punky bass thump and their signature girl group harmonies, Ramone’s heavenly verses have fangs. “Is it in my head? Wishing I were dead? I wanna hurl myself into the sea,” she sings — evoking the same melodrama that made so many of their songs hit much harder. “We’re coming out swinging,” says Koehler of the song.
“I was originally trying to recruit a backing band for my next solo album,” Ramone says during a recent interview with Rolling Stone. “It sounded cool, but it just wasn’t going as smoothly as it did with [Vivian Girls]. I tried so hard to fit a square peg into a round hole with other people. So when Katy called me up and said, ‘It’s been a few years … Let’s do the band again,’ I was relieved. I just came to Los Angeles and we made it work.”
The album was recorded in Comp-NY Studio in Los Angeles, and produced by Rob Barbato (Cass McCombs, The Fall, La Sera). Upon the release of Memory, Polyvinyl will also reissue the band’s first two albums, which have been long out of print: 2008’s Vivian Girls and 2009’s Everything Goes Wrong. The self-titled has been remastered by Heba Kadry, who’s previously engineered works by Beach House, Björk and the Mars Volta.
“It took a lot for me to just like leave the comfortable little hole that I had dug for myself in Brooklyn,” says Ramone. “But no risk, no reward, you know what I mean? To come out and do something like this — I have a feeling it’s going to be worth it.”
The band kicks off their fall reunion tour October 4th at The Regent in Los Angeles. Tickets go on sale on Friday, July 19th.
Vivian Girls Fall Tour Dates
October 4 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent
October 5 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory OC
October 6 – San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park
October 17 – Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
October 18 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
October 20 – Somerville, MA @ Once Ballroom
October 25 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
October 26 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
November 1 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
November 2 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
November 3 – Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater