Check 'Em Out

Check ‘Em Out: Girl in a Coma

Girl In A Coma are a rock n roll band according to guitarist and leading lady Nina Diaz. A band that mainly creates rock/punk rock music from the second most populated city in Texas, San Antonio. The trio have been going for 9 years with Nina joining the group when she was age 13. Jenn Alva (Bass) and Phanie Diaz (Drums) could not let the opportunity pass after the being blown away with Nina’s great vocals. Their big break came when they did a ‘Meet Your Musical Hero’ type show at the Knitting Factory in New York, the musician was Joan Jett (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts) who was so impressed that she offered them a deal to sign with her record label Blackheart Records in 2006.

Within twelve months Both Before I’m Gone had been recorded, mixed and released. The album begins with Clumsy Sky which sets the tone. This album means business with the distorted and crunchy guitar, steady beats and pounding bass. The song was their first single and is also one of their most popular. Jett encouraged them to enter Clumsy Sky into the Independent Music Awards. The song won the best punk song in the 2007 awards. The second track Say is also a good and rocky number further cementing the three piece as a top high energy act. The most recognisable number off Both Before I’m Gone is Their Cell. All elements of this song are fantastic: there is a very memorable clean guitar line, the lyrics and vocals are well written and carried out, and the bass and drums fit in perfectly.

The album was a critical success with strong reviews in magazines including Alternative Press Magazine, the LA Weekly, Bust magazine, and many others, and the album reached No. 23 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and No. 21 on iTunes. Road to Home’s video includes Amanda Lapore (Transgender Icon), the group have always been outspoken on human rights issues and active in the LGBTQ community. This freshman effort ends with the longest track that the group have ever released, Simple Man. Fittingly enough the song is just Nina and an acoustic guitar leading to a stripped back feel, closer to Both Before I’m Gone.

Trio B.C. (2009) (named after Phanie and Nina’s Granddad’s band) was the follow up and was produced by the Grammy winning Greg Collins (U2 and Gwen Stafani). It is more quality music delivered with passion and heart. It spawned a fan favourite, El Monte. A love song that turns sour, it utilises Nina’s incredible voice layered over an arpegiatted guitar. My personal pick off Trio B.C. is Trail – I just love it. Girl In A Coma then went on to do a cover album with songs from bands they were influenced by including Bowie, The Beatles and Joy Division. This record works because they put their own stamp on these classic bands hits. The three piece also covered the Selina song Si Una Vez. The song is in Spanish and I struggle to think of a better cover to be put down on record (I really want them to do a whole album in Spanish).

Exits and All the Rest came out three years ago and won the band their second Independent Music Award, this time for the best Indie/Alt Rock album at the 2012 event. Again proving that the band are a quality outfit. Along with the albums, GIAC are a electric live band, and Nina’s highly energetic performances captivate audiences. Jenna and Phanie rock their part of the stage, and as a whole Girl In A Coma are a band that you have to listen to. Check ‘em Out.

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Check 'Em Out

Check ‘Em Out: Ghost Brigade

Hailing from the small Finish town of Jyväskylä Ghost Brigade creates some of the best music around. The six piece consists of Manne Ikonen-Vocals, Veli-Matti Suihkonen-Drums, Tommi Kiviniemi, Wille Naukkarinen-Guitars, Joni Saalamo-Bass and Joni Vanhanen- Keyboards (don’t worry I can’t pronounce their names either. I have tried live on Radio much to my embarrassment), who wonderfully mix melodic elements and much heavier ones, leading to a definitive Ghost Brigade sound. This is one that crosses the boundaries of genres, which is why this group are so, so good.

The bands musical career began with the release of 2007s Guided By Fire. This debut is up there as one of the strongest openings to a bands musical collection ever. It is sublime from the opening track, Rails at the River to its closing, Deliberately.  Through the course of listening to the 10 tracks there are monstrous riffs, clean picked guitar parts, chunky bass lines and spectacular tasteful drum sections. All layered with expertly executed clean and heavy vocals. It is not an album were I can pick out a few songs to recommend just put it in your CD player (yes I still own an actual cd player, call me old fashioned), or pull it up on your preferred music streaming software and hit play. The album was praised both critically and by the dedicated fan base. Guided By Fire was a great first step on a path that what would lead to more quality music.  

Using the first album as a blueprint, Isolation Songs came out two years later in 2009. Again on the French label Season of Mist. Though the title of the record sounds rather dreary, it isn’t so. That is not to say that it is the happiest album. But there are moments Isolation songs that are masterful and very peaceful. The song that I am specifically referring to is 22:22-Nihil. To date it is the only instrumental track from Ghost Brigade. For me it is one off my favourite songs of all time. 22:22-Nihil is my go to for whenever I need to calm down, clear my head or just stop thinking for five minutes and forty eight seconds. It is a very special and important to me.

Onto Until Fear No Longer Defines Us (2011), the sextuplet also added something that they had never done before to the album. This time it was the acoustic number Into the Woods. A rather beautifully haunting track, because of the dark nature that Ikonen penned, to go alongside the stripped down music. With this instalment the songs got longer the majority being over five minutes. But this allows them to show just how talented they are as the songs are allowed to breath and explored by the listener.

After a very long 3 year absence Ghost Brigade released IV-One With The Storm and there is not a song that isn’t phenomenal. Yes it may be similar to their other albums but why fix it if it ain’t broken? But as per usual they add something different on this record there are more synthy sounds and atmospheric noises. Along with these elements the last song Elama On Tulta is sung in their native language. Which is what they ended their live set with when I had the honour of seeing them in support of IV-One With The Storm.

In only a nine year span Ghost Brigade has built a discography that very few bands/artists could compare with. They are the best band you have not heard of, Check ‘Em Out: Ghost Brigade.

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