The DIY scene in Chicago has all the time been robust, however Horsegirl – vocalists/guitarists Penelope Lowenstein and Nora Cheng, 18 and 19, and drummer Gigi Reece, 19 – didn’t really feel like there was room for younger individuals to be concerned whereas they had been rising up.
“[We] weren’t getting heard or acknowledged, and we might not have the ability to play exhibits at any of the venues ‘trigger we had been underage,” says Reece. Along with their associates across the metropolis, the trio created their very own various youth world, the place they share music, zines, artwork, and different inventive passions with one another. “We’ve realized the individuals who do it finest are us and our associates,” says Lowenstein. “We’re youngsters selling youngsters’ work primarily, and we’re capable of have a voice.”
Final yr, the band spent their ultimate summer time earlier than Cheng and Reece left for faculty collectively in New York Metropolis holed up inside Chicago’s Electrical Audio studio. They emerged with their debut album, Variations of Fashionable Efficiency, which is a visceral and electrical entry into the post-punk canon.
“All of us had this purpose to make the album earlier than Nora and I left for faculty,” says Reece. They’re talking over Zoom, sprawled on a comfortable sofa subsequent to their bandmates; the three usually end one another’s sentences and mumble inside jokes between one another. “It was an emotional time, but it surely felt actually good.”
Horsegirl have been finest associates since highschool, the place they bonded over their love of bands like Sonic Youth and Tv. They began taking part in music collectively in 2019, rehearsing and recording in Lowenstein’s basement. Their recent, wide-eyed spin on the music that influenced them got here collectively immediately, nearly freakishly well-developed; they had been nonetheless all in highschool, finishing courses over Zoom because of the pandemic, when Matador Data snapped them up.
The songs on Variations of Fashionable Efficiency are inscrutable and summary, each lyrically and musically. One may argue there’s a social media-fed expectation on younger bands, significantly younger ladies, to current themselves of their songs and out of doors them as accessible and relatable. However Horsegirl, who don’t use social media a lot, are extra within the real-world experiences that formed them as individuals.
“We began this as a reside band, simply to play with our associates in basements,” says Reece. “All of our experiences as associates and as a band [have been] of the thrill that occurs in actual life. Like, going to see among the best exhibits of your life, after which speaking to youngsters after the present and having this superior bonding second of realizing you want all the identical music.”
“There’s positively a sense of like, we’re the individuals who shall be in our 20s quickly, and it’s enjoyable to have this sense of ‘we’re about to all be doing this collectively’,” Lowenstein sums up. “In an older scene, it’s like, ‘we’ve already performed it’, or, ‘oh, the great previous days’. However I believe there’s one thing particular about being younger and feeling the facility of being younger.”