March 16, 2017

Split: COOL GIRL #5

Heavy Dreams and Date Stuff team up for a COOL GIRL collaboration.

What does it mean to be a cool girl? There’s no way to answer that, of course, but Heavy Dreams and Date Stuff have brought us something pretty close. The bands teamed up for a COOL GIRL split, part of a Chicago-based project that pairs up women or non-binary musicians for awesome collaborations. COOL GIRL #5 is five songs strong and a perfect showcase of what each of the groups has to offer. Chicago trio Heavy Dreams start things off with three tracks before Date Stuff, also of Chicago, jump in for the last two. Even if you’re not familiar with either band, the split functions cohesively and each strong track gives us a sampling of what these artists are all about – Heavy Dreams and Date Stuff are clearly really cool, separately or together.

The split opens with Heavy Dreams’ “Gone,” a fuzzy, DIY-spirited song about the comfort and discomfort of being alone, which also appears on the band’s just-released album KEVIN. The song explores the directionless feeling of a relationship coming to an end, repeating the question “Where am I supposed to go / when it’s nighttime and I’m all alone?” With its escalating upbeat melody, though, Heavy Dreams ponders the not-always-totally-socially-accepted idea that occasional solitude may not always be so bad after all – there can be strength in aloneness. This lingering sense of positivity amidst emotional hardship continues with “Nailpolish,” a previously released song that also has a rad accompanying video. The line “We don’t know what it was or what it meant / it all looked so much different in your head” tackles the disparity between imagination and reality, all with a jump-up-and-down kind of energy. “Swim” follows, and gives us a slowed-down glimpse into Heavy Dreams’ meandering spirit - “forgive me / I have been out swimming” - while retaining a sense of agitation that builds to a rousing end.

Next up is Date Stuff, their two tracks building on the foundation Heavy Dreams set while adding their own stylistic flair to the split. “Magic Garden” is a hooky anthemic tribute to how a garden – real or metaphorical – can grow from nothing into something powerful. Carried by crashing instrumentals, the song’s exploration of how “grass grows greener when it’s out of sight” reflects the duo’s potential as a musical force – the two songs on this split are their only releases so far, but they have proven their capability for much more. “Magic Garden” blends well into “Salmon,” the last final track, which brings more upbeat, jangly charm from Date Stuff. At just over five minutes, it’s a closer that tells a story, ending a compilation that began with uncertainty on a more definitive, hopeful note. “Took all my luck to find you,” sings Date Stuff, showing how far a time, persistence, and yeah, luck, can take you. Incase you're looking to invest, COOL GIRL #5 is available on bandcamp for, aptly, 5 dollars.


Listen to COOL GIRL #5 on bandcamp.


Sarah Hojsak is from Philadelphia and writes about music and other things. She likes hazelnut coffee and buying more books than she can read. Catch her on a good day at a show being emotional about how good music is, or on a bad day doing the same thing but through headphones.