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the pretty greens
"The Pretty Greens are writing music that’s visceral and tough to characterize, incorporating bits of surf, garage, Brill Building pop, punk, new wave, and more, into a warm blend of sounds that’s perhaps more evocative of the real complexities of life."
- Kate Bracaglia (The Key for WXPN, Philadelphia)
In early 2014, Philadelphia trio the Pretty Greens released their debut single, Jealous Waves. Recorded and mastered with engineer Will Noon (Straylight Run, fun., Breaking Pangaea) for US independent label February Records, the single featured three tracks of fuzzed out garage, pop, and surf.
The band features guitar and vocalist Kool Schmool (namesake inspired by Bratmobile's track, "Cool Schmool"), Julia Green on lead vocals and bass, and Carly Green on vocals and drums.
The Pretty Greens have shared the stage with punk, surf, and garage contemporaries La Luz, Shannon 'n' Thee Clams, Psychic Teens, Potty Mouth, The Upset, Tweens, Sleepy Kitty, Mannequin Pussy, Allo Darlin', OBN IIIs and more.
In 2014, the band began committing to more studio time to contribute a track to a compilation on February Records coming out in December 2014. In early 2015, they will release a limited-run cassette EP of brand new material, which will feature exclusive artwork from She Shreds' magazine illustrator Tuesday Bassen.
Vocals, Bass / Julia Green
Vocals, Guitar / 'Kool Schmool'
Vocals, Drums / Carly Green
PRESS & REVIEWS
Tonight's Concert Picks: American Wrestlers at The Fire, The Pretty Greens at Kung Fu Necktie, Slayer at The Tower | (http://thekey.xpn.org, John Vettese, November 30, 2014)
In a similar lo-fi pop vein, Philly trio The Pretty Greens play Kung Fu Necktie tonight. The band at turns evokes the propulsive DIY rock of Vivian Girls and the more twee side of C86-era UK pop. Last December The Pretty Greens released a song about Nordic holiday legend Krampus, which in itself is wicked cool – listen to the song below and get information about the show here.
Allo Darlin' lets the sunshine in | (http://www.philly.com, A.D. Amorosi for The Inquirer, October 14, 2014)
Philly's favorite feminist art-garage trio, the Pretty Greens, opened with a playful brand of riffing, dirty pop favorably flat-toned vocals shared among the threesome. Despite the fuzz and bursts of angularity, "Jealous Waves" sounded brightly like the Go-Gos at their angriest.
Allo Darlin' and The Pretty Greens at Boot & Saddle | (http://www.thatmusicmag.com, Tom Noonan, October 13, 2014)
On Saturday, Boot & Saddle welcomed bi-continental transplants Allo Darlin’ and local scene dwellers The Pretty Greens for a double shot of intimacy. For about two hours, it was the warmest place in Philadelphia.
Boot & Saddle, if you haven’t been, is a Ron Swanson mullet of a venue, styled in halves with a no-nonsense “bar with a side of fries”-type establishment up front and an even less nonsense, 150-person capacity view of the stage in the back. There’s no clutter and little chatter. It’s the kind of place where you’re either listening or you’re leaving. But Saturday offered a third option; people started dancing.
The Pretty Greens opened things up with a crisp set of soft-spoken beach punk. Each song was lean and punchy, clever jabs from a transitioning band that rarely stretched beyond three minutes. This represents the newest iteration of the all female Philly three-piece, who seem to know exactly what they want to say but are trying to find the best way to say it.
Born of the Philadelphia’s strident feminist scene, The Pretty Greens are becoming a Message band with balance, and their set Saturday night gave the city three new voices to be reckoned with. They jangled through some strong new songs, most notable of which were “Jealous Wave” and the yet to be recorded “Ghost”. Both spread the band’s infatuation with bare bones riot grrrl hooks over a more patient and often glowing tide. The obvious references for this revision would be the shade-less surf of Best Coast, but the Pretty Greens seem more interested in the sparse canvases bands like Ought ramble over. They don’t want to get lost in their own waves, so they leave the joys in their songs simple and Message dots complex. This way you’ll dig them enough to do your own research when you get home. (Research: http://pussydivision.com).
The Pretty Greens' new "Tiny Locket" will have you pumping your fist in delight | (http://thekey.xpn.org, Sarah Hughes, October 11, 2014)
The Pretty Greens are a kickass, garage-punk trio who are rapidly making a name for themselves in the Philly music scene – as we learned when Kate Bracaglia interviewed them earlier this year. On Thursday, the group released their song “Tiny Locket” via their Soundcloud page and the quick, 2 minute song will have you grasping for more. The song boasts heavy bass and a simple refrain with vivid lyrical imagery like “Lost in your chaos / a tiny locket in your jewelry box.” While maintaining a serious jam factor, the ladies’ soft vocals bring a unique element to their sound. The Pretty Greens plays Boot & Saddle tonight, so head over to the XPN Concert Calendar for more information and give a listen to “Tiny Locket” below.
The Pretty Greens' Jealous Waves | Just Music That I Like (http://ww.justmusicthatilike.com, September 29, 2014)
Last but certainly not least in a little quartet of fuzz (for now) is Philly trio The Pretty Greens, a new discovery that appeared in my draft folders from an unknown source (sorry, I forgot to link you). Their February EP Jealous Waves bringing a charming slice of DIY indie pop to the table with perhaps title track "Jealous Waves" summing it up best.
You are soon introduced to a super infectious little gem which flutters around your heart with tumbling percussion, simple jagged guitar chords and super soft harmonies, complete with candy sweet vocals that are pretty much impossible not to swoon after.
"Lonely Hunter" reminds me of Tender Trap; catchy, melodic surf pop rhythms with clever wordplay lyrics, you can imagine it being even more fun live. There's even room for a cover of The Palisades' "Make the Night a Little Longer," transforming 60's girl group Motown sound to pure jangle pop bliss. Extend your summer and grab the dreamy three track EP now, available via Bandcamp.
Summertime Sips & Summertime Sounds | (http://thekey.xpn.org, Kate Bracaglia, August 28, 2014)
Summertime Sips and Summertime Sounds is our occasional, seasonal foray into summer vibes with our fave local “summertime” bands, in which we meet up, share a drink, and revel in the sunny weather (check out editions 1, 2, and 3, featuring Work Drugs, Cruiser and Chill Moody, here). Today we catch up with Philly’s The Pretty Greens; read on to experience the adventure.
One thing I love about The Pretty Greens is that their take on “summer” music is delightfully multi-faceted. They’re not writing music to escape, or bliss out to; and they’re not writing ragers to sweat out to in some basement. No, The Pretty Greens are writing music that’s visceral and tough to characterize, incorporating bits of surf, garage, Brill Building pop, punk, new wave, and more, into a warm blend of sounds that’s perhaps more evocative of the real complexities of life.
Not surprisingly, people have started to take notice. In the past year, they’ve shared bills with the likes of La Luz, Hunters, Shannon and the Clams, and Upset; this fall, they’re opening for the generally wonderful Allo Darlin.’ The Philly trio back up solid songwriting with a high-energy live show—and real enthusiasm that comes from believing in your message.
On stage, the girls go by Carly Green, Julia Green, and Kool Schmool; in real life they’re Carly, Julia, and Sarah. And while they seem a little like garage-punk bad-asses on stage, in real life, they’re totally sweet and psyched to be drinking mid-week beers with me.
We meet at Fountain Porter, in South Philly—I’m psyched because this is the first Sips spot in my neighborhood, and because already I associate this bar with sweet summer times, mostly involving cheeseburgers and listening to old vinyl on Sunday afternoons.
I’m also psyched because after meeting with three groups of dudes, it’s nice to be among some ladies, who totally understand when I order Dock Street Summer in Berlin because “it sounds refreshing” (“It does,” agrees Julia) and whose eyes don’t gloss over when I talk about handbags (only because it came up). Julia orders “Summer in Berlin” as well, and Carly orders “Milk Carton Stout,” which we all agree sounds delicious. And Kool orders Jack and Ginger, her go-to summer drink (more on that later!)
Over the course of an hour or so, we talk shore life, riding in cars with no AC, and the best (and worst!) things about summer in Philly. Read on for deets on feminist beach flyering, free pizza, and the bands they associate with growing up and summer.
The Key: So the summer is winding down. What were the most fun things you did this summer, and what awesome stuff are you still hoping to squeeze in?
Julia Green: Well, the most summery thing we did as a band this summer was playing Asbury Lanes—it’s a bowling alley in New Jersey, and if you play there, you get to bowl for free. So we spent the day hanging on the boardwalk, then played a show at night, and then the next day I actually went to the beach, which I generally never do…and I got this watermelon bikini that I was excited about. So it felt really summery.
Kool Schmool: The venue was like a block from the beach, so that was really exciting. It was all of our first times in Asbury Park.
JG: We actually flyered on the boardwalk beforehand. We were like “feminist punk rock! Feminist punk rock!”
TK: Did you get anyone from the boardwalk to come to the show?
JG: Well during the show we were like, “did anyone come from us flyering?” And nobody raised their hands [laughs].
Carly Green: We also played a really hot house show at [West Philly DIY spot] Safety Meeting, which was fun. It was super hot. There was mango water ice, which was really good. Some people said they came just for the water ice.
JG [laughing]: Well, the water ice was what got them in the door. But then they stayed because they loved our sound! [laughs].
KS: We also made the trek up to New York this summer…
CG: Yeah! The venue we played at, Lulu’s, is actually closed now—but it was the first venue we played at where you got a free 10” pizza if you bought a beer. Plus all of the bands got free tickets for pizza too—so the pizza was flowing all night. It was really an ideal situation.
KS [nodding]: The New York show was definitely a highlight. It was our goal for the summer to play more outside Philly, and that show was a lot of fun.
JG: It was so hot that day, and we drove up in a van together without air conditioning. I got us all these little personal fans at the dollar store. It was an adventure. We got home at 4 in the morning or something….
CG: …And to answer the second part of your question, before the summer ends, I think we’d really like to record in some nice weather. Usually our practice space is either really hot or really cold. Lately it’s been just right.
TK: Where do you practice?
CG: We practice in Media, in an attic. So it’s very extreme conditions.
TK: Wow, that is unusual. So, summer in Philly. When I think summer songs that originated in Philly, I always think about your “Jealous Waves” cover art, and also about the song itself, which sounds so summery with the waves crashing. But it also came out in February. Did you set out to make a summer song to pull yourself out of the dregs of winter?
KS: The timing of the release of that song came about because February Records asked us to put out a song for them for Valentine’s Day. And they really liked “Jealous Waves.”
CG: Kool’s friend Stephanie Kao did the artwork, and she came up with this really cool, ‘80s, sort of neon, new wave image.
JG: It’s funny, because another song on that single is “Lonely Hunter,” which is about the winter. And when I’m singing that song I’m always very aware of what season we’re in. So sometimes when I’m singing it live in the summer, I’ll switch up the lyrics to make it more relevant to the moment. We don’t want to pull it from our set, because we like it, and people seem to enjoy it. But I don’t want it to be about just one thing either. I don’t want to sing about winter while people are sweating.
TK: Do you think the idea of summer consciously influences your songwriting?
KS: This summer for me, I’ve been very influenced by Link Wray. He’s a famous surf-guitar god. So when I’m sitting down by myself, trying to brainstorm ideas for songs, that’s immediately where I go to. Just summer, surf, surf-rock, garage. And I think the last few songs we’ve written together have been very surf-y. But they’re not released yet, so everyone has to come to our shows to hear them! [laughs]
CG: Honeyblood is a summery band that is a huge influence on me. I’m always looking for the perfect lyric formula; I’m trying to break the code. And they just get it. Sometimes you hear lyrics by other people, and you’re like, “ahhh, why didn’t I write that?” But at the same time, it inspires you to write better music.
TK: So what does summer music mean to you? Who are some of your essential summer bands?
KS: You know, The Beach Boys, Link Wray, Tame Impala…
CG: I think maybe music like Black Moth Super Rainbow, or Stereolab. Also, I grew up across the border from Michigan and we had a lot of Motown Radio from Detroit. So any kind of Motown feels summery to me—groups like Smoky Robinson and the Miracles, The Crystals, The Shangri-Las, Marvin Gaye—anything with a simple pop beat. Also, Hunx and His Punx. They’re really fun and garage-y. [Kate’s note: these guys rule!]
JG: So I have a confession to make: I’m really not a summer person. [Everyone laughs.] I jog, so when I think about each season I think about what I want to listen to when I’m outside sweating. So in the summer I need to listen to stuff that’s really punky to get me through it. So this summer it’s been like, Bikini Kill and The Coathangers. And then when I’m home, just relaxing, Beach House, Teen Dream, is just something I’ll put on repeat. Just something light and dreamy. I was also into this one Conor Oberst record, which is sort of embarrassing. And CocoRosie. I think some of it has to do with whenever I buy the records—I associate it with that season.
CG: For me, it’s Honeyblood; I just can’t get over it. I’ve been listening to them on repeat. I love it—it’s definitely a summer album for me. [laughs] I feel like this whole article is going to be about my love of Honeyblood. [Kate’s note: after this interview I listened to Honeyblood’s record all the way through. It is solid.]
TK: So derailing from the summer theme for just a sec—a few weeks back I did an interview with Amanda X, and one thing we touched on was the climate of playing in an all-girl band, and getting grouped on bills with other girl bands. Do you ever feel like you’re pigeonholed being all girls? Do you think it’s an advantage?
CG: I don’t think we’re pigeonholed. I think we might have been a little bit at the beginning but I feel like now we just strive to play bills with people we really like, or who have something interesting to say.
JG: We’ve played on bills that are deliberately all female, and that’s a good thing. One of my favorite memories was playing the opening for the Alien She show at Vox Populi. That was a feminism night. Sarah put together that bill, and it was like, us, Trophy Wife, Mannequin Pussy, and Pushin’ it to the Limit. In situations like that, I think having all girls can be very empowering. It can be empowering if it’s inspiring activism.
KS: I agree that we don’t get pigeonholed anymore. But I think that’s because our sound has evolved. When I first started playing with you guys, we were more punky and outwardly feminist. Now our feminism is more subliminal.
TK: I like that! Subliminal feminism. That’s pretty punk. So: drinks. What do you guys like to drink during the summer? What’s your perfect summer drink and where do you want to drink it?
JG: It’s funny, because during band practice, we’re all business. We really don’t drink at all, unless it’s a really bad day. So my perfect drink is actually non-alcoholic. I’m obsessed with seltzer, and I have a soda stream… so what I do is put in fruit juice—pineapple is my favorite—and then I put in frozen fruit where the ice should go. That way it doesn’t get diluted. My favorite combination is seltzer, pineapple juice, raspberries, and blueberries.
TK: That sounds delicious!
JG: It’s very refreshing. I don’t have central air in my apartment so it’s my way to trick myself into enjoying the heat.
KS: In the winter, I’ll drink Jack and Coke. In the summer, I drink Jack and ginger [laughs].
CG: I’m a huge Ginger Ale fan; I also love darker beer, like stouts. I’ll drink them year ‘round [gestures towards her beer]. In the summer though, I think that new Teavana Mojito Lemonade is super refreshing. Oprah knows what she’s doing [laughs].
TK: Ok, now time for some either-ors? Beachside or poolside?
TK: Morgan’s Pier or Spruce Street Harbor Park?
ALL: Neither [Kate’s note: Oooh, burn!]
KS: No, I’m just kidding. Actually I’d say both. The park can be cool during the day with the arcade games and hammocks, and then you can walk down the street to the Pier. Morgan’s Pier can be hella fun. Last year they had James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem, which was cool.
TK: Totally. So next one: MGMT or Vampire Weekend?
JG [excitedly]: MGMT! One of my favorite jobs ever was working at a Barnes & Noble. And it was the year that one of their big records came out, and it was literally the only record we carried that I could stand to listen to on full rotation. So I have many fond memories of alphabetizing books to that record.
KS: I would say, neither, and replace it with DIIV.
[General discussion breaks out about how the hell you pronounce “DIIV”; we also talk about how I didn’t know how to pronounce “Wavves” at first]
TK: Moving on: Margarita or mojito?
JG [sheepishly]: I can’t help it; I like the mint!
TK: So last one: summer raging or summer lazing?
CG: I think it depends what you’re raging against—or for.
TK: I was sort of envisioning a mosh pit rage.
CG: Well in that case maybe a little raging. The Pretty Greens know how to have a good time!
See The Pretty Greens on Saturday, October 11 at Boot & Saddle with Allo Darlin’ and Royal Shoals. More info available here.
Tonight’s Concert Picks | (http://thekey.xpn.org, Julie Miller, August 22, 2014)
Local punk trio The Pretty Greens play North Star Bar tonight. The self-described feminist art-garage pop-punk outfit released an EP called Jealous Waves earlier this year, reaching out to melodic surf punk to create a Best-Coast-with-a-mission vibe. Watch the band play the title track to the EP live below. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here. (Julie Miller)
Records I Like | (recordsilike.wordpress.com, March 6, 2014)
"1960′s Girl Group meets indiepop meets Riot Grrrl courtesy of Philadelphia’s The Pretty Greens.
The excellent Jealous Waves EP features three tracks including the band’s cover of The Cookies (recording under the name The Palisades) Make the Night a Little Longer. It’s a free download on February Records or you can buy a CD version directly from the band.”
A Layer Of Chips | (alayerofchips.blogspot.com, February 23, 2014)
"This is a delicious slice of DIY pop from Philadelphia, which brings to All Girl Summer Fun Band, The Icicles - even Tender Trap in parts, and it’s another triumph from the transatlantic February Records.
The title track is all understated majesty and shambling shoegaze strums with a laid-back, almost coy nature. Meanwhile, Lonely Hunter brings to mind Unrest or, closer to home, September Girls’ earlier stuff. There’s even time for a cover of The Palisades’ ‘Make the Night a Little Longer’, which is a deft little coquette of song.
If there was any justice in the world, then The Pretty Greens would be famous and Liam Gallagher’s fashion label would be (literally) consigned to the dustbin of history. It won’t happen, of course, but then that shouldn’t take anything away from just how flippin’ ESSENTIAL The Pretty Greens are. If they don’t make it across the sea to play in the UK this year then I’ll throw a terrible strop. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Cryptic Rock | (www.crypticrock.com, February 14, 2014)
Philadelphia’s The Pretty Greens are Carly, Julia, and Kool Schmool – three women who fully embrace the DIY aesthetic and are an active and integral part of their artistic community. Their songs express a variety of influence and style and often carry a hint of the band’s “proud feminist-grrrl philosophy.” With recent line-up changes, an on-going fanzine, and new songs recorded, The Pretty Greens are stronger than ever.
AM Gold | The Pretty Greens, “My Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” (Matters of the heart discussed through layers of bright dreampop)
(Impose Magazine, Dayna Evans, February 13th, 2014)
"Philadelphia’s music scene is indeed thriving and well, The Pretty Greens unveiled a lovely track entitled “My Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” to prove it. In honor of the forthcoming Valentine’s holiday, the song explores matters of the heart with both a sincere and sorrowful palette. As a three-piece, The Pretty Greens are spare enough to fill the holes with light vocals and touching melodies, but have the gumption and push to demand respect and thoughtful listens. It’s no surprise that the song title alludes to Carson McCullers—her disposition is largely the same.
This track comes from Jealous Waves, a three-song EP to be released on Valentine’s Day through February Records.”
Preview The Pretty Greens’ Valentine’s Day EP with “My Heart Is A Lonely Hunter”
(The Key on XPN, Patricia Madej, February 13th, 2014)
"Three-piece Philly punk group The Pretty Greens list fashion and cats as some of their collective interests, but let’s not forget feminism and garage rock. They’ll release three new tracks, collectively called the Jealous Waves EP, as a Valentine’s Day gift to their fans tomorrow; get a little preview with “My Heart is a Lonely Hunter” below.
As the song starts, listeners can picture their sound bouncing off the walls in any local basement or house show; it has raw vocals, a surfer sound and steady guitar riffs and a punchy drum beat, but with easily identifiable 80s punk / new wave nods to The Go-Gos and Blondie. The band plays Ortlieb’s Lounge on Saturday the 15th ,and joining them at the 21+ show will be U.K. folk group Peggy Sue and The Mariner’s Children. More information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Check out “My Heart is a Lonely Hunter” below.”
The Pretty Greens
(Sleepy Kitty, blog, September 4, 2013)
"Last night in Philly: The Pretty Greens and Mike Wojciechowski are both righteous bands in completely different ways. Mike’s incredibly intimate lyrics are the kind I wish I could write, and The Pretty Greens have Olympia in their blood. Looking forward to blasting the Pretty Greens in the van on our way home!”