As a fan of unique and original music I’m always looking for new artists and acts that challenge me and push the envelope. At Progtoberfest 2018, Lovely Little Girls was one such band. Their music was equally melodious and jarring- like if Magma did a collaboration with the B-52s, or if Jello Biafra sang for Frank Zappa. I was ready for a swift kick in the pants, and Lovely Little Girls delivered, with one of the weirdest sets of what was a very diverse weekend.
Lovely Little Girls is the brainchild of Gregory Jacobsen, a visual artist who combines the beautiful with the horrifying in his art. With the help of longtime musical collaborator Alex Perkolup (of Cheer-Accident fame), Lovely Little Girls has become an extension of Jacobsen’s nightmarish artistic vision- a combination of beautiful, lush colors that decorate stomach churning, mutated and maimed bodies and frames.
Lovely Little Girls will be releasing two new songs for a forthcoming compilation through SKiN GRAFT Records, called Post Now: Round One – Chicago vs. New York , set to be released on March 15th. As a Proglodytes exclusive, we will be streaming one of their two tracks, “Emphatic Service”. I also had the pleasure to talk to Gregory Jacobsen about the history of Lovely Little Girls, their sources of inspiration, and what’s in store for them in 2019!
How did Lovely Little Girls begin?
LLG began as a performance project in 2001 with two synthesizers, drums, and bicycle horns. It was more about creating a spectacle with jarring and alien sound/music. It evolved into a band through the years. Alex Perkolup from Cheer-Accident and The Flying Luttenbachers joined around 2004, introducing a strong compositional and prog element to the band.
If you had to describe your creative mantra as a collective, what would you say it would be?
These are our more pop endeavors. We are trying to let the music breathe and have fun, after years of shoving a lot of information into tiny spaces.
Tell us about your tracks on this collaboration. What is the composition process in Lovely Little Girls? Does it vary from song to song?
Alex Perkolup sometimes brings entire compositions to the group. They have usually been rattling around in his head for years before he finally demos them. This was the case with “Be Good to Your Shoes” (Note: this is the other song appearing on the compilation). Other songs are built from experimenting in our practice space, then piecing together and combing recorded bits. With “Emphatic Service”, Cory Bengsten quickly tapped out something on an iphone app. It sounded like jaunty haunted house music. When filtered through the band, it took on a different mood- more melancholy and sparse. I pushed it in that direction. “More space! Slower!” I’m wanting to do a neo-soul/r&b song soon, using it as a template, knowing that it being filtered through the band and all of our various particular musical histories, interests, and skill levels, it will morph into something very unique.
For new fans, what do you feel like would be a good point of entry for your music?
For prog fans, I think our last album Glistening Vivid Splash is a good entry point. It’s our first album where we really came together as an ensemble.
What role does the ‘body horror’ of your visual art play in your music?
The band was originally started as a performative extension of my visual work. The grotesque and body horror has always been something I have been interested in. As the group evolved into a proper band, these themes were carried over through my gestural-based performance and my lyrics that deal with body issues in an absurdist manner, The music is also an extension in that it is very physical, gestural, and absurd. We try to convey an emotional range that spans “stupidly heroic” to “sad and pathetic.” With the music, as with my paintings, we combine many different elements- visual and emotional- to create something that doesn’t quite add up, that is confusing in intent and presentation, always trying to avoid well-trod paths and signifiers.
This compilation is framed around a battle between New York and Chicago. For the uninitiated, how would you describe the vibe and energy of the Chicago prog/experimental scene?
In the past I feel I could sum up the prog/experimental scene, but it’s now totally all over the map and is always changing with people coming and going in the city. What is represented on the comp is a small but very interesting corner of it. It definitely has a certain aesthetic.
Any potential albums in the works, or live shows in 2019 to look out for?
We have a new album Effusive Supreme coming out sometime in 2019. Our live shows have slowed down lately, but will be picking up soon.
Chicago has been a hotbed for very experimental music for decades, with acts like Cheer-Accident and Bobby Conn, and with labels like Chicago-born SKiN GRAFT that facilitate the weirdness. SKiN GRAFT’s first compilation in two decades, titled Post Now: Round One – Chicago vs. New York, features tracks from legendary bands in the New York and Chicago prog/experimental scenes, framed as a 2 song battle between the two locales.
Check out “Emphatic Service”, a dissonant circus nightmare from the brilliantly avant garde Lovely Little Girls below, and pre-order the compilation CD, Post Now: Round One- Chicago vs New York HERE.