Band of the Summer: Logan Square’s Summer Girlfriends

There is something special about an all-female band that goes way beyond the supposed novelty of girls playing instruments (come on, aren’t we past that already?). The Logan Square band Summer Girlfriends is no exception. Just watch one of the band’s shows or spend an afternoon eating pizza with them at their favorite spot, the Boiler Room, and it becomes clear that one of the wonderful things about many all-female bands is that, more often than not, they understand how to play music without expectations.

“The reason that we’ve gotten maybe a little bit of press is because we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” says the band’s drummer Nicole. “Yes, we’re serious about writing music, and yes, we’re serious about playing it, but that’s kind of where it stops. We just enjoy playing shows and we enjoy hanging out together, and that’s the future. Making records, playing shows, and being awesome."

Photo © Dave Rentauskas

Playing shows and being awesome has been the name of the game for the past year and a half that the band, which includes Nicole, guitarists Nikita and Kristin, bassist Sara, and vocalist Caitlin, has been together. Gathered together initially by Nikita’s New Year’s resolution to start a band, the group has steadily been gaining steam. At just their second show,  they received the indie version of being “discovered” when they were approached by Addenda Records.

“One of the owners of the label came to see one of our shows at Pancho’s,” says Sara. “He came up to us after the show and was like, ‘Hey, I really like that. I want to record you guys.” In true not taking themselves seriously fashion, Sara says, “We were like, ‘Who’s this guy?’”

Fortunately the band took him up on his offer--their first record was released on June 5, 2012. They just finished up their first six-city tour to promote the album and are gearing up for their record release party at The Burlington on June 22.

This comes on the heels of the release of their first music video which has only intensified press mentions. The band has been written up on the AV Club Chicago (where the video initially debuted), ChicagoistHuffington Post, and ChicagoVerseUniteD.

“It’s pretty cool to be on Huffington Post, I’ll say that,” says Kristin. “Because I definitely came in to work and all my coworkers were giving me shit, like, ‘I heard your band is famous.’…Me getting an egg on my head and stabbing a boy with a popsicle, that’s what I’m known for now.”

The opportunities only continue to pour in. The band will be playing at Summer Sessions on the Square and West Fest. They also received a request from the Red Eye to play and record an acoustic session. “It’s interesting because you get offered all these things that you wouldn’t necessarily think you’d get offered and people sort of expect you to be this person that you aren’t necessarily,” says Nikita. “Which is interesting and fun because I would have never thought that I would ever be playing an acoustic guitar, ever, or have a need to play it.”

Given the band’s serendipitous history, chances are good they’ll smoothly figure out whatever gets thrown at them. Despite varying levels of musical experience, a name change, and a lineup change, something has unmistakably coalesced, making them the band with the sunny name and lyrics that hint at a darker edge that’s getting press mentions and rocking local jukeboxes.

The band is deeply connected to the neighborhood where they live and play. The bonus to living in Logan Square is, essentially, that you can’t throw a stick without hitting a musician. “You’re always running into other people in bands,” says Sara. “You go out to brunch and you run into somebody from this band, that band, and you start talking and you plan a show.”

Nikita agrees. “It’s very conducive to being in a band. Most of us live in Logan Square...and we all meet up here at Boiler Room every Wednesday and a lot of the conversations we have lead to song ideas and/or meeting other people who will play with us. It’s a great place to actually play shows because there are so many good smaller venues in Logan Square.”

One such venue is the Burlington where, as mentioned, the band will be playing their record release party. If you can’t make it, chances are good you’ll be able to find the Summer Girlfriends sometime at another local venue, playing music, being awesome, and, refreshingly, not taking themselves too seriously.

Summer Girlfriends Record Release Party
June 22, 9 PM
The Burlington
3425 W Fullerton Ave.

--Tamara Matthews

PS.  Don't miss Summer Girlfriends and other great summer music at this year's Summer Sessions on the Square, a community summer music series (and Logan Square's largest picnic). It's returning for a fourth season this Saturday, June 23rd with a great lineup: 

Serengeti (performing as “Kenny Dennis“) *see Pitchfork write up here.
Las Guitarras de Espana
The Sweats *this is Cole (of Cole's bar)'s band. 

All music in the series is curated by Billy Helmkamp of The Whistler and in partnership with CHIRP.


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