“Horsegirl songs conceal more secret messages than a handmade mixtape. The Chicago indie rock trio are smitten with their musical forebears, citing everyone from obscure New Zealand lo-fi bands to ’90s Matador staples . . . Horsegirl are figuring out how to honor their musical heroes while creating space to someday stand alongside them.” – Pitchfork
Chicago band Horsegirl –Nora Cheng (guitar, vocals), Penelope Lowenstein (guitar, vocals), and Gigi Reece (drums) – unveil a new single/video, ‘Dirtbag Transformation (Still Dirty),’ from their debut album, Versions of Modern Performance, out June 3rd on Matador / Remote Control.
In-step with a string of incredibly well-received singles, ‘Dirtbag Transformation (Still Dirty)’ is a scuffed up, guitar-driven piece of garage-pop. The tracks’ lyrics brim with alliteration and slanted rhymes, and as the instrumentation rises, the song rides out with a chorus of “oohs.” For the song’s video, Horsegirl and friends, many of whom will play the Horsegirl record release party, were given the reins to Lowenstein’s elementary school where they filmed all day last month. As a band who do everything as a unit, from songwriting to trading vocal duties and swapping instruments to sound and visual art design, this new video captures the essence of this trio’s special bond.The band elaborates:
“The three of us filmed the ‘Dirtbag Transformation (Still Dirty)’ video over one day in Penelope’s elementary school. The video provides a small look into our Chicago youth scene—it includes members of bands like Lifeguard, Friko, Dwaal Troupe, and Post Office Winter all grouped into oddball bands with weird gimmicks. We always have the best time making our videos with our friends in spaces we feel connected to. All of our friends showed up with various assortments of clothing and props, like wooden spoons, a bowling shirt collection, and an accordion. We wanted to harness the strangeness of everything that was brought to us, and wanted to showcase all of the people and bands that mean so much to us.”
Chicago is baked into the core of Versions of Modern Performance. Cheng (she/her), Lowenstein (she/her) and Reece (they/them) learned to play—and met—through the significant network of Chicago youth arts programs, and they have their own mini-rock underground. They’re exultant about their friends’ talent, noting that any of the bands from that scene could have been (or might still be!) plucked up the way they were. Across the album, recorded at Chicago’s Electrical Audio with John Agnello, there’s elements of the ‘80s and ‘90s independent music the band love so deeply and sincerely. But as Horsegirl fuse all of this together, it feels not like a pastiche or a hacky retread but something as playful and unique as its predecessors.