San Francisco’s Girls craft lo-fi, hazy pop songs that get in your head and leave you with a euphoric Oxycontin buzz. Singer/songwriter Christopher Owensâ€™ life has been a picaresque tale of sex, drugs, and the saving graces of rock and roll. He was born into the Children of God, a cult founded in California in 1968. As a child, he was forced to endure a barrage of psychologically damaging events, such as traveling through Japan with his mother, an unwilling prostitute forced to raise money for the cult.
Despite his troubled upbringing, Owens was able to find solace in music, and began playing guitar at a young age. Interestingly enough, his first guitar was given to him by Fleetwood Mac’s Jeremy Spencer, also a member of the Children of God cult. To this day, Owens still records with the guitar.
At the age of sixteen, Owens escaped the cult and moved to Amarillo, Texas, where he fell in love with its burgeoning punk scene. Unfortunately, he also fell in love with the town’s drug scene, launching into a downward spiral that would nearly kill him.
Enter interesting plot twist number two: Owens met millionaire philanthropist Stanley Marsh III, who gave him a job, a home, and helped him turn his life around. Owens then moved to San Francisco with a girlfriend, with whom he briefly recorded under the moniker Curls.
Shortly after that band and relationship dissolved, he met Chet â€œJRâ€ White, a producer/musician who would become the other half of Girls. They quickly became friends and started recording together. The resulting sound was a beautiful marriage of heartache, nostalgia, and triumph that gets better with each listen. Their debut album, aptly entitled Album, will be out in September through Matador Records.
Check out my front runner for song and video of the year, â€œHellhole Ratraceâ€: