All great things must come to end, and last week saw the demise of one of the best bands of the past decade: the Vivian Girls. The Vivian Girls (their cool name refers to this) were a Brooklyn-based female trio who integrated punk, garage rock, and classic girl group influences to forge a unique and exciting sound, at once hard-driving and melodic. The first of their three albums, released in 2008, helped kickstart a lo-fi revival, and they’ve influenced a host of female-fronted bands that have come along since, such as Best Coast, the Dum Dum Girls, and Neverever.
They were much beloved by their fans, but being women who tried to do something in the world, they also received far more than the usual share of hate, as this Pitchfork piece about their break-up makes depressingly clear. Musician Kip Berman had this to say: “The unrelenting chauvinist vitriol levied at this band made me realize that there is nothing better about indie culture compared to mainstream culture. No one has taken more s@#$ in the last five years than [frontwoman] Cassie [Ramone].” And Kathleen Hanna said that “reading BrooklynVegan [a music site] comments about Vivian Girls made her want to cry.”
Earlier this year, the band announced it was calling it quits, and last week in New York, they played their final shows. The split seems amicable, and band members will continue with their offshoot projects: La Sera (bassist Katy Goodman), The Babies (lead singer/guitarist Cassie Ramone), and Upset (drummer Ali Koehler). Those groups are all well worth checking out, especially La Sera. But none of them have yet developed a sound as compelling as the Vivian Girls. They will be missed.