Saturday, February 21, 2015
On the surface, TV Girl is a sunny, throwback splash of 60s French pop and southern California soul. Yet, under that shiny veneer lays a dark heart, beating with sharp wit and cynical alienation, and the music is all the more alluring for it.
The band formed in 2010 when longtime friends Trung Ngo and Brad Petering went from skating around their San Diego suburb to making music in college. Sharing vocals, guitars, and sampling beats, their self-titled debut EP that year turned heads online immediately; the group's lush vintage rhythms and timeless pop hooks were even making waves on the BBC. In 2012, the group moved to L.A. and continued to release a string of other well-received EPs, touring relentlessly throughout the country until 2013, when Ngo left the band amicably. Petering then turned the group into a trio with the addition of Jason Wyman and Wyatt Harmon. Despite the switch up, last summer TV Girl unveiled their first full-length, the critically acclaimed French Exit.
The album keeps true to the TV Girl charm with a bevy of electronic samplings infused throughout light and airy guitars, whirring organs, and ethereal vocals. Though, this record is not all summer nostalgia, there are plenty of times where French Exit reads like disaffected fiction. The moody characters in these songs are fueled by revenge as often as love, underpinned by desperation and a deep yearning to connect. French Exit's first single, "Birds Don't Sing," imagines them falling from the sky around a broken relationship while tropical Bossa Nova guitars swirl in a lo-fi luau. Other songs, like "Daughter of a Cop," work in a hip-hop beat to accompany the wandering soul bass and smoothly estranged vocals. On stage, the band has become a popular staple of festivals like SXSW, and their bright flourishes compliment the hypnotic groove, keeping the pace up and the intrigue high.
Recorded by: Jake Brussel Faria