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SHARE THE JOY AGAIN

It’s been about a year since the Brooklyn-based trio Vivian Girls played their hypnotically lilting indie-rock siren songs on their home turf as they’ve been working on solo endeavors and occasionally performing elsewhere. They titled their last album, 2011’s Share the Joy, after a particularly stale tune written by songwriting partners Burt Bacharach and Hal David, a song that ultimately tore their pop-crafting partnership apart. Luckily, despite their absence from King’s County, Vivian Girls have not suffered the same fate, and bassist Katy Goodman has said she’s working on new material for the group. Tonight, they make their happy return at a free show with three other female-fronted bands who have garnered more attention over the past year: breathy duo (and unrepentant “Wicked Game” cover artists) Widowspeak, the sometimes sublime, sometimes bouncy Eternal Summers, and sultry garage-
rockers Heliotropes.

Fri., Feb. 15, 8 p.m., 2013

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The Babies+Night Manager+Beach Day+Daytona

A product of indie incest, the Babies prove that when you add two lo-fi Brooklyn bands together, you don’t just get another Brooklyn lo-fi band. In 2010, retro-pop band Vivian Girls’ frontwoman Cassie Ramone started collaborating with Kevin Morby from Neil-Young-meets-psychadelia band Woods to produce a sound that somehow combines no wave and campfire folk. Surprisingly the result isn’t as schizophrenic as you’d think, but rather a healthy dose of earnestness and fuzzy guitars.

Wed., July 25, 8 p.m., 2012

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DRUM MAJOR

With Vivian Girls—the group whose eponymous 2008 album helped lead Brooklyn to the beach two years before Best Coast, and to girl pop three years before Cults—Frankie Rose played both bass and drums and contributed occasional vocals. With Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls, she focused on percussion, and with Frankie Rose and the Outs, she finally tried her hand as bandleader. Tonight, she plays the Knitting Factory as a solo artist celebrating her new record, Interstellar, a change in direction that trades surfboards for spaceships.

Tue., Feb. 21, 8:30 p.m., 2012

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White Fence

White Fence is the progressive, solo project of psychedelic garage rockers Darker My Love’s lead singer Tim Presley, who besides joining noisemakers The Strange Boys full-time, managed to independently release the eponymous White Fence LP and Is Growing Faith on labels Make A Mess and Woodsist. If you missed the California native’s spring visit to the city (or even if you didn’t), make sure to catch this free show with New York’s own the Babies—made up of members from both Woods and Vivian Girls—at Bruar Falls, which closes for good on November 1.

Mon., Oct. 17, 8 p.m., 2011

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EVOLUTION, GIRL-STYLE

On 2008’s self-titled debut, the Vivian Girls set the template for the lo-fi and lo-maintenance guitar rock that has since risen to the level of zeitgeist among jean jacket–wearing L train riders. But as the scene they helped create has begun to approach its creative limits, the Girls have pushed forward. Or, perhaps, backward: New songs such as “Take It As It Comes” mix early ’90s Sarah Records simplicity with “Leader of the Pack”–style spoken-word, conversational verses. Titus Andronicus violinist and rhythm guitarist Amy Klein opens, accompanied by her new Blue Star Band. With Widowspeak.

Tue., Sept. 20, 8:30 p.m., 2011

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Black Lips

Just like Duran Duran, Atlanta’s Black Lips hired Mark Ronson to produce their new album. Yet where Duran’s All You Need Is Now sounds like the ’90s never happened, Arabia Mountain (due in June) makes you wonder what happened to the 80s–its rowdy sock-hop, garage-slop vibe betrays no trace of the past half-century or so. Get a sneak peek tonight. With Vivian Girls.

Tue., April 12, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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Frankie Rose Isn’t Going Anywhere

One detail stood out when West Coast fuzz-pop band Dum Dum Girls played a thunderous set opening for Vampire Weekend at Radio City Music Hall last month: Frankie Rose wasn’t there. The hometown noise-pop go-to drummer had apparently quit the band to focus on her own project, Frankie Rose and the Outs, who stop at Coco 66 this week on a tour promoting their new self-titled debut, a tight set of tunes rife with reverb and ghostly harmonies.

The record is Rose’s latest step in her pursuit of perfectly washed-out dream pop; her Dum Dum departure wouldn’t be terribly notable if this weren’t the third fast-rising band she has ditched in as many years. The others are Vivian Girls, who Rose co-founded in 2006, and Crystal Stilts, who she joined in 2007, both popular indie-pop outfits that made her a venerable fixture on the fuzzed-out circuit. “But now I’m known for quitting bands,” she says, head in hands, at the kitchen table in her South Williamsburg loft. “So many people have asked me, ‘Why would you leave a popular band? They’re doing amazing stuff. They’re going to tour and see the world.’ But I just had to do my thing.” She also points out that the bands she’s played in are merely Pitchfork-famous, and don’t make much money—at least not yet.

“She makes some crazy decisions,” says Crystal Stilts bassist Kyle Forester by phone a few days later. “Like, maybe she could’ve worked it out with Vivian Girls.” Rose—who makes clear that her motives are creative, not commercial—says no way. Though she started the band, named it after her mother, provided material (notably the early single “Where Do You Run to”), and helped craft the trio’s beloved tunnel-punk sound, she quickly realized her aesthetic was closer to that of the more refined Crystal Stilts, whose JB Townsend she met a few months after joining the Vivians; when being in both bands got too stressful circa 2008, her loyalty tilted to the Stilts. (Incidentally, her Vivian Girls replacement, Ali Koehler, recently left that band to play in Best Coast; her former bandmates declined to comment for this article.)

“I 100 percent love everything JB does,” Rose says of her Crystal Stilts stint, at least. Forester cites her solid drumming skills—audible on the surf-rock single “Love Is a Wave”—as a unifying factor during her time in the hard-touring band. Still, Rose was “just the drummer,” as she put it. By the end of 2009, she had formed the Outs, released a single, and led their live debut, singing lead and playing guitar. Their haunting pop sound is a logical continuation of her stylistic trajectory: There are ’60s-style female harmonies (like the Dum Dums), darkly distorted guitars (like Vivian Girls), and a nice wash of reverb (like Crystal Stilts). “Frankie is adamant about where things should sit in the mix,” says Outs guitarist Margot Bianca. “She wants this huge drum sound, and then the vocals are just like another instrument.” As a songwriter, too, Rose had finally found the creative outlet she craved.

But the two-band scenario would repeat itself earlier this year, when Rose agreed to play in the original version of the Dum Dums while simultaneously launching the Outs, an arrangement that found her playing 13 shows in three days at South by Southwest this spring. “I had a panic attack,” she recalls. “I just started crying in the bathroom.”

Again, Rose made a choice: No question, she would rather front her own band at Coco 66 than play drums in someone else’s at Radio City Music Hall. “A drummer is replaceable,” she says. “It could have been anybody.” Although that’s not exactly what DDG leader Dee Dee (neé Kristin Gundred) said earlier this year, when Rose was still in the band: “I built this band under the pretense that Frankie would play with me,” admitted the singer/guitarist, who also played drums in a popular band, San Diego’s Grand Ole Party, before quitting to start her own act.

In terms of the incestuous Brooklyn music scene, Forester points out, Rose’s band-hopping isn’t that unusual. But it’s hard to think of another indie musician who has emerged as a frontperson after vacating the drum stool for a fast-rising band, unless you count Dee Dee herself. In a way, the two are opposite-coast counterparts, though Rose probably wouldn’t put it that way. She was a little annoyed by a recent Times review that compared the two bands’ musical ability and fashion sense, as presented at a shared bill they played when Rose was still pulling double duty. “I just have a terrible fear of being lumped in,” she says now.

Overall, though, Rose is quite content with her new arrangement. “I couldn’t be happier,” she says, then pauses for a minute and looks around the smelly kitchen she shares with four roommates. “Well, maybe being on a commercial would make me happier,” she adds. “Yeah, a bag of money would be good.”

Frankie and the Outs play Coco 66 October 22 and the Music Hall of Williamsburg with Dum Dum Girls November 1

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READY FOR THE TRENCHES

Warpaint formed six years ago on Valentine’s Day, and in turn gave us a damn better gift than bubbly and long-stemmeds. The photogenic Los Angeles females crunch out smart, arty psych-rock, all instruments distorted to the ether and all keening vocals equal parts entreatment and antagonism. They’re gritty yet graceful Venusians beamed directly into Laurel Canyon; we’d try to start an East Coast/West Coast rivalry going with the Vivian Girls, here, but these ladies are too smart for this. They know their genius lies in everything being l-o-v-e. With Javelin.

Fri., Aug. 13, 7 p.m., 2010

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The Growlers

Buzzy SoCal dudes with mellow surf-bum ‘tudes, the Growlers kick out scruffy, sloppy jangle-pop jams that sound like they were rescued from some moldy Merseybeat compilation; imagine a kinder, gentler Black Lips, or maybe an alt-bro Vivian Girls. No word yet if they’re named after the large glass vessel the Times recently dubbed “the beer accessory of the moment.” Seems like a good bet, though. With Grey Goods and Byrds of Paradise.

Sun., Feb. 14, 9 p.m., 2010

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Les Savy Fav

These local faves have slowly morphed from post-hardcore spaz to something quite melodic and darned near poppy—check out the party jam “Patty Lee.” Live gigs are always a hoot when you have a showman freak like Tim Harrington onboard. With Vivian Girls.

Fri., Jan. 29, 8 p.m., 2010