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Grass Widow

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  • Grass Widow

  • Grass Widow


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Although it makes some sense to lump Grass Widow in with the Vivians, Dum Dums, and various other "girl groups" that rushed onto the indie underground stages of the late 2000s, the San Francisco-based trio is actually a slightly different animal. Formed, predictably enough, in the late 2000s, the group is comprised of Hannah Lew, Raven Mahon, and Lillian Maring; the three utilize the same sort of egalitarian, D.I.Y. embrace of collective creative possibility embodied by Rough Trade heroes such as the Raincoats, Essential Logic, and Kleenex/LiLiPUT. There's simply no denying the influence of the first wave of British D.I.Y. bands here -- whether it's deliberate or not -- yet while Grass Widow certainly work with the raw ore of a bygone era, the final product remains of their own time.

Like the aforementioned bands did with the more derivative, brutish aspects of England's Dreaming-era punk, Grass Widow subvert the laconic fuzzed-out punk wallop of their contemporaries by embracing a skittering, disarming approach to rhythm, one born equally out of innovation and necessity. The group's distinctive three-part vocal approach likewise creates an off-kilter moodiness that further complicates what are ultimately rudimentary post-punk tunes. The effect, when it works, can be quite impressive; when it doesn't, it still feels inspired. The band's debut, a self-titled full-length, appeared on the tiny Make a Mess label in 2009; it was followed shortly thereafter by an EP on the prodigious Brooklyn label Captured Tracks. After a move to the Kill Rock Stars label, the trio released their debut record, Past Lives, in August of 2010. The more polished Internal Logic followed in 2012.

eMusic Features


Who Are…Ruby Pins

By Tobi Vail, Contributor

Ruby Pins is the recording alias of Lillian Maring, best known as the drummer from Grass Widow. On her debut for Portland label M'lady's Records, she layers her voice and instruments with effects, creating a magical, psychedelic backdrop over which she unleashes personal angst and articulates her politics using humor and vivid, nuanced storytelling. The record is an introspective masterpiece that also manages to feel whimsical and free. Maring's lyrics capture the chaos, absurdity and… more »


Who Are…Golden Grrrls

By Tobi Vail, Contributor

I interviewed Golden Grrrls before their show with Brilliant Colors in Olympia; they had just flown from London to Seattle to start their first U.S. tour. We ordered pizza and sat on the floor of Bikini Kill Records HQ to get to know one other. I quickly discovered they're record nerds who prefer nothing more than to geek out about music: Drummer/vocalist Eilidh Rodgers works in a record store owned by Stephen Pastel where my… more »


SXSW 2011: Day 1 Report

By J. Edward Keyes, Editor-in-Chief

Now well into its second decade, the days during which South By Southwest - and the bands it attracts - could count novelty as a chief draw are long over. And with blogs and social media sites having likewise moved from fad to institution, the odds that anyone would be hearing a band for the first time in Austin is also significantly reduced. And so the thousands of bands looking to make an impression at… more »


Who Are…Grass Widow

By Caryn Ganz, Contributor

"A major theme in the way we work is we don't have a frontperson and we really do everything together," says Hannah Lew, "so I'm going to do my best to represent all of us." She makes a good point: Grass Widow's sound is completely dependent on interlocking voices and roaming guitar and bass lines that zip past and into each other, generating tense pockets of dissonance and beautiful moments of resolution. The group's second… more »