Girls Names
Gig Seeker Pro

Girls Names


Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Prime Movers"

THE SUN IS setting as Girls Names finish their set on Primavera Sound’s Vice Stage. Frontman Cathal Cully stalks offstage amid a hail of feedback, followed by drummer Neil Brogan, bassist Claire Miskimmin and guitarist Philip Quinn. Cathal sticks around to enjoy the free beer while the rest of the band load their gear onto a minibus waiting to take them to their hotel.

Just as they are about to set off, a tall, skinny stranger, who has just played a set on the adjacent stage, boards the bus. The band recognise him instantly and introduce themselves. “Oh, you’re Girls Names?” he says. “Everyone is talking about you guys!” The man is Bradford Cox, of Deerhunter and Atlas Sound, one of American indie rock’s most iconic figures.

Considering that three-and-a-half years ago, Neil couldn’t play the drums, Claire had never played bass and Cathal had never even been in a band, the Girls Names’ tale is a remarkable success story.

YOU CAN LOOK down on Parc del Forum from the plane as you approach El Prat airport, picking out the enormous solar panel right beside the sea and the triangular Auditori del Forum concert hall. The concrete-covered site is no less spectacular, albeit a bit brutalist, close up. Sharon Van Etten may call it “the ugliest place I have ever seen!” from the main stage, but it’s a dramatic place to spend a weekend watching music, and every May it’s thronged with tens of thousands of music obsessives from all over Europe. They come to hear the cream of the left field – from Wilco to Godflesh, Beach House to Iceage, The Cure to John Talabot. And Shellac. Every year, Shellac.

When I meet Girls Names at their hotel before their first shows of the weekend, they are in good spirits, wide-eyed about their palatial rooms, the huge meals they’ve just had and the novelty of seeing Christopher Owens from Girls sauntering through the foyer. After two weeks touring Europe in a cramped van, this is a taste of the good life.

“We saw loads of excellent bands on the first night,” says Claire. “Thee Oh Sees were amazing,” says Cathal. “Claire brought me to see Refused and I’m a convert. We saw Lower Dens as well, I was really excited about seeing them.”

With their moody, post-punk sound and releases on small but respected US and UK labels such as Slumberland, Tough Love and Captured Tracks, Girls Names sit well on a bill with these bands and even, as Cathal tentatively ventures, The Cure. They also have plenty of drive and initiative, from sending demos to Brooklyn’s Captured Tracks and ending up with their first EP release in 2010, to securing a spot on the Primavera Sound bill.

“We actually just emailed them and asked,” says Cathal. “Neil asked a band that was playing last year how you go about playing Primavera and they gave him the email address for the main organiser.”

“Within half an hour he came back with an offer,” says Neil. And how did you react? “What do you think?” he laughs. “Fucking hell! I sent that email without even expecting that we would get a reply – it’s a dream to play something like this.”

Tour manager Jim appears in the background – it’s time to get on the bus to the festival site. We all pile in and Cathal fills me in on how Girls Names went from nothing to playing one of the world’s best festivals in next to no time. He and Neil met through mutual friends – it never takes long in Belfast – and initially talked about forming a Beat Happening covers band. Soon after, a promoter friend needed a support band for a gig he was putting on and asked them to play.

“We just thought, ‘fuck it, let’s throw some stuff together’,” recalls Neil. “We had a practice and thought it might work. I mean, I didn’t even play drums at that stage, I just had some drums.”

That gig in early 2009 was their first, and would lead to the duo cutting their teeth with a variety of like-minded touring bands – Sic Alps, Lovvers and Times New Viking among them. They were joined in 2010 by Claire on bass and more recently by Philip on guitar and synth.

Like Two Door Cinema Club, Girls Names have never aligned themselves too closely with the much-vaunted Northern Ireland scene, preferring to look to London and the US. And here they are, playing one of the world’s most prestigious festivals. Is that a coincidence?

“We’ve gone from the outside of it because of the stuff we were into at the start,” says Cathal. “I’m not down on anything at home, I just keep myself to myself. It’s great that we’re not a big band in Belfast but we come and do these things – we’ve been on tour in Europe for two weeks and we have an amazing label in America and an amazing one in London. We’re lucky in that it was a time and a place.”

After a minor Spinal Tap moment when we are mistakenly dropped off at the main stage, we carry the band’s gear through the (mercifully sparse) crowd watching local band Refree to the little Ray-Ban Unplugged tent for the first of today’s two shows. By the time the band are ready to start, it’s packed and sweltering, and by the time they have finished, middle-aged men in Joy Division and Smiths T-shirts among the large crowd that has outside listening from outside are nodding appreciatively.

An hour later, I am at the Vice Stage for the main Girls Names show. Cathal announces his arrival with a “Hola Primavera. We’re from Belfast. We’re gonna play some new songs.”

There are hundreds of people there despite the fact that Atlas Sound are playing metres away, and it’s a beautiful, surreal moment to be watching this band looking and sounding so at home on a big stage in the Barcelona sun, far from the dingy Belfast bars they are used to.

AFTER I ARRIVE home, I catch up with Cathal – by now somewhere in France – on the way home. “It’s been a bit of a blur since I last saw you,” he says, and he talks enthusiastically about the city park show the day before that I had to miss in order to catch my flight. “It felt like a party, you know? It was really laid back. We were all hungover from Saturday but it was really good fun. I couldn’t believe the crowd that was there. We had a good celebration afterwards.”

The Primavera Sound shows marked the end of a successful tour that consisted of headline gigs in Manchester, London and Brighton and a European run supporting Cloud Nothings and Beach Fossils. It must have whetted your appetite, I say. “Yeah, Primavera was like another world,” says Cathal. “You get a taste of these things, bit by bit, and you want more.”

If a certain Mr Cox is to be believed, Girls Names are going the right way about it.
- The Irish Times

"Dead To Me LP Review - 7.3"

Lawrence", the first track on this record by Girls Names, starts with a woozy, tape-warped guitar strum and a spate of whirring white noise. Given that the album is called Dead to Me, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you were entering into a bleak record of dissonant, droney punk dirges. But after a few seconds, the noise dissipates to make way for a slippery riff that leads into an effortlessly catchy, sun-kissed pop tune.
This musical approach-- sprightly, dewy-eyed, well-played surf-rock-- nods in the direction of escapism, being as though Girls Names hail from the relatively cooler and boardwalk-deprived city of Belfast. The guitar lines are bright, the drumming is usually up-tempo, and frontman Cathal Cully has a particularly romantic croon, deep and robust and subtly emotive. Though the gray of the Belfast sky peek through with the band's ghostly use of reverb, sentimental lyrics like "shut up and kiss me" ring the loudest. Their sound is vaguely reminiscent of labelmates Crystal Stilts, minus the psychedelic overtones and the Factory Records gloom that make that band so interesting. Songs like "I Could Die" and "Bury Me", in spite of their macabre goth titles, are two of the most upbeat songs on the album; in fact, you could rename them "I Love My Beach Ball" and "Every Day is a Party" and nobody would be the wiser.
With further listens, the feeling of heartbreak in the lyrics starts to set in. The aforementioned song titles and ones like "Cut Up" and "Séance on a Wet Afternoon" provide a hidden thread to the album, one more haunted than you would originally expect. The occasional specter appears during the song's lyrics, but the images sit side-by-side with scenes from the past and relationships in utter disrepair. With many of Cully's lyrics being tinted with regret, it becomes clear that the ghosts that float throughout Dead to Me represent old lovers cast in the breeze, that the album is actually a break-up record disguised as a concept album about ghosts disguised as the go-to album for indie-loving surfers. Which makes the record a lot more intriguing than it initially lets on.
Only on the closing "Séance on a Wet Afternoon" does the trio try a darker approach. The song is driven by Claire Miskimmin's bass and drummer Neil Brogan's nervous tapping of his ride cymbal, evoking the feeling of blazing down a dark, winding road with a paranoid kidnapper at the wheel. Ending with what sounds like a tape spinning off its reel, it's a welcome break from the amorousness of the remainder of the album, which is charming, but may have a harder time finding a place in your record collection during the year's colder months. - Pitchfork

"Dead To Me LP Review - 7/10"

Ever since The Smiths brought a swagger to the business of morbidity, many, many bands have tried to replicate the perverse pop that Morrissey, Marr and co mastered. Belfast trio Girls Names have a go here, and fare far better than most. Forget their poor punctuation: this debut LP is awash with bittersweet romance and deadpan derision, the latter neatly encapsulated by the title. ‘Lawrence’ and ‘Séance On A Wet Afternoon’ deliver a woozy take on ’60s garage rock similar to that of Crystal Stilts, but with an oddly gothic surf twist, while Cathal Cully’s vocal on ‘Nothing More To Say’ just oozes sardonic charm. As Mozzer once put it: viva hate. - NME


Don't Let Me In - 12" EP (Captured Tracks, 2010)
Split Tape (CF Records, 2010)
You should know by now - 12" mini LP (Tough Love)
I lose/You win - split 7" (Slumberland/Tough Love, 2010)

Dead To Me - LP (Slumberland/Tough Love, 2011)
Black Saturday - Ddl single (Slumberland/Tough Love, 2011)

A Troubled See/House of Secrets - Split 7" (Slumberland/Tough Love, 2012)
The New Life - 12" single (Slumberland/Tough Love, 2012)

TBA, LP (Slumberland/Tough Love, 2013)



Formed in January 2009, Girls Names quickly garnered recognition outside of the confines of their hometown of Belfast with the release of their eponymous debut EP in 2010 through New York’s Captured Tracks. A mini album through London imprint Tough Love soon followed, setting the foundations for their critically acclaimed debut LP Dead To Me, released in April last year again by Tough Love in Europe and cult West Coast label Slumberland Records in the US.

After a successful tour of Europe in October last year supporting stand alone single Black Saturday, Girls Names began to hint at a possible directional shift away from their often misperceived surf and indie-pop roots. Indeed, the band have expanded to a four-piece and have spent the last six months in virtual seclusion honing and developing a more progressive and expansive sound, feeding on the darker sides of Echo and The Bunnymen, Spacemen 3, Krautrock, Psychedelia, post-punk and David Bowie’s Low.