Band name: Summer Girlfriends
Sound: This up-and-coming, pizza-obsessed group (seriously, check out the number of pizza mentions on its Facebook page!) laces its catchy garage-rock output with '60s girl-group melodies and a welcome dose of surf-rock guitar. Think Best Coast if frontwoman Bethany Cosentino ditched her pot stash and cat for a black leather jacket and ample reverb.
Need to know: The quintet recently finished in fourth place in an online battle-of-the-bands competition put together by an apparel company--more than respectable considering over 800 acts entered the national contest. Even better? The group is expected to release its debut album, "Shockwaves," this May on local label Addenda Records.
Interviewed: Caitlin Kerr, 28, Humboldt Park
Is it true the band started as a New Year's resolution?
Yeah! We all talked about it, then Nikita, our guitar player, brought it up a few days after New Year's last year and was like, "Let's stop talking about [forming a band] and just do it already."
Congrats on being the first people to ever keep a resolution then.
[Laughs] I know! We're trying to stick to it each year.
How would you describe the new album's sound to someone who isn't familiar with the band?
It's got a lot of surf-y undertones, just with guitars and the way we play around with the music. We try to keep it simple. It's just drums, guitar, bass, vocals and a few other instruments. It's danceable music.
Growing up in the Midwest (Kerr was born and raised in St. Louis and moved to Chicago a shade over a decade ago), have you ever actually been surfing?
I have not. I actually have a fear of sharks, so I don't know if I'll ever do it. But I've been places where you could potentially do it.
How do you develop a fear of sharks growing up land-locked?
I don't know. They just scare me. Our family would go down to the Gulf Shores every year. I don't have many fears, but they're one of them.
You were initially called Canadian Girlfriends but had to change it because the name was too close to another local band (My Canadian Girlfriend), right?
Yes, we were! But it's all good. Everything is fine. It happens to many bands, but we just rolled with the punches and changed our name. Luckily that's all in the past now.
And you put together a Facebook poll to help determine your new name?
Yeah, I mean, because naming a band is one of the hardest things to do. It's just such an awkward experience--especially when you have multiple people and every opinion counts. We just came up with a few names we thought might work and had people vote. The music's for the people, so I have no problem having others be a part of it. Even if it's just having them name our band.
What were some of the runners-up?
I'm not sure. I think Camp Girlfriends was one. When you're growing up your first crush is usually over the summer, or whatever, and we were trying to keep that vibe.
So who was your first celebrity crush?
(Laughs) Oh my god! I think maybe Jonathan Taylor Thomas from "Home Improvement." I think? I guess? I mean, he's the one who popped into my head. You're going to embarrass me, aren't you? It's OK.
Your set opening for the Coathangers at Panchos last summer ended with a trip to the emergency room. Is that the only time the band has bled in the name of rock and roll?
I think so. We're not too aggressive onstage--at least not yet. Nicole tripped over an amp or something and caught her earring and it ripped her ear. So she had to go. It was bad! It was at the end of the night, so everybody was ready to load into the van and get back to the practice space, and she had to go to the hospital and get that all sewn up and taken care of. It was our first real rock and roll moment!
"Shockwaves" is the both the title of the album and its first single. Where do you think the new record would fall on the Richter scale?
What's the numbering for the Richter scale? To ten? Let's say a five (laughs). It's earth-shattering.