The clamor for San Francisco's Girls is almost early-Nirvana-sized, so it's not surprising to hear familiar-but-better in their recent debut on True Panther/Matador, Album. The familiar is the echoing jangle and pop-noise of so much indie rock, buffed to a Spector-esque sheen by bassist-engineer Chet "JR" White. The better is what his musical partner Christopher Owens sings and how he sings it, with Elvis Costello's guttural Dylanisms, but also something of Robert Smith's sob, Elliot Smith's warmth, and Conor Oberst's eternal tremble. You don't need a back story to be moved by the line "I wish I had a loving man in my life/I wish I had a father, and maybe then I would have turned out right," though this Miami native apparently escaped a childhood in a Slovenian cult forbidding pop music to eventually escape and start writing his own songs in order to impress fellow Holy Shit members Ariel Pink and Matt Fishbeck. From cult to cult-rock is the headline, in other words, but this band is much more. With Dominant Legs. 18+. (Photo by Sandy Kim)
Sat., Nov. 14, 9 p.m., 2009

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