June 9, 2016

EP: Colleen Green - Colleen Green

Colleen Green goes back to her roots on her latest self-titled EP.

Nothing's more fitting for summer than sparkly guitar pop, and one of the best names in the game right now is Colleen Green. Based in Los Angles, she's been tick-tick-ticking away with just a tinny drum machine and a looping pedal for years, crafting a lo-fi sound that she recently dubbed as "Ramones-core." That sound got a shiny makeover when she experimented with live instruments on 2015's I Want to Grow Up, enlisting Jake Orrall of Jeff the Brotherhood on guitar and Casey Weissbuch of Diarrhea Planet to replace the drum machine. Despite the widespread critical acclaim, some people weren't as pleased. Four months after she released I Want To Grow Up, Green posted a status on Facebook: "If I play with a drum machine, they'll want real drums. If I play with real drums, they'll say they liked it better solo," she said. "Not everyone is going to like or even understand why I do what I do and I wouldn't prefer it any other way." Almost a year later, she's returned to that bare-bones sound of her earlier releases on a self-titled EP out via Infinity Cat Records, currently sold out IRL but available online.

There are no flashy guest musicians. There is no pretense. She's not trying to prove anything with this EP. Green connects the dots between the simplicity of the Ramones and the loveliness of the 50s and 60s girl groups that inspired them. Her work is filled with distorted guitars and harmonized "awooos" and "yeah yeah yeahs." Like her influences, after the sugar high of the first couple of listens fades, Green's songs can appear formulaic. Half the songs on Colleen Green begin with the same drum pattern. Still, Green uses these familiar sounds to outline complex themes of alienation, insecurity, and desire, always serving up familiar tropes with a twist. "Cold Shoulder" borrows its chord progression from "Blitzkrieg Bop" but instead of detailing a mosh pit, Green describes being a victim of cuffing season aka when everyone gets in relationships just to cuddle during winter. "I know that once summer comes, we will go back to square one," Green sings, pleading "please don't give me the colder shoulder / Seasons change and I get older." On "Disco" Green takes the familiar nightclub setting and turns into a tale of insecurity. "How can I keep up with everyone? They all wanna go to the disco / They always know what to do they always what to say," she sings, uttering the secret fear that our friends will grow up and leave us behind. Even when she's confident, like on the dismissive "Between the Lines," she's always slightly self-critical. "You're just a jar of jelly with a... popped. up. lid." Green snarls at some fuckboy over chugging guitars on the first verse before she brings in the breezy "wahooooos". Then she turns the venom on herself, singing "I'm just a dog without a bone / I'm just a heart without a home and I feel it every time that I'm all alone." She even finds a way to flip the script on "Here it Comes", a love song that that is as much about Green's relationship with the bus as it is about her beau. Throughout the EP, she proves there's much more to her upbeat, stripped down pop-punk than meets the eye. Give it a chance and discover some jams that make you feel less alone in your anxious moments. If you still pine for the full-band Colleen Green, than it's your loss.


Listen to Colleen Green on Soundcloud.

Mo Wilson is a writer who enjoys collecting posters and still has a CD player. You can find him on twitter @sadgayfriendx.