The Dead Girls
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The Dead Girls

Lawrence, Kansas, United States | SELF

Lawrence, Kansas, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop


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by Ian Hrabe

The Dead Girls (nee Dead Girls Ruin Everything) rose from the ashes of local power-pop troupes Podstar and Ultimate Fakebook to form the metro's catchiest supergroup. After five years together, there's finally a full-length. On Out of Earshot, the Dead Girls defy the trendy lo-fi aesthetic of the moment and instead serve up a slick-sounding debut. That's a compliment. A sea of distortion would have obscured every sweet riff, sick solo and perfectly placed vocal harmony. Though the band often aims for a sound that's larger than life, a couple of downbeat numbers bow to Big Star and the Replacements. (The band has paid tribute to the latter in cover-band form.) The Dead Girls also show off an arena-rock jones (which they satisfied by opening for Kiss last year); the dual-guitar riffing that peppers Out of Earshot is undeniably inspired by Thin Lizzy. (The band wears its influences on its sleeve; sure enough, it has performed as a Thin Lizzy tribute band on more than one occasion as well.) If Out of Earshot sometimes pays too much tribute to the Dead Girls' heroes rather than advancing a sound of its own, it's still a pretty satisfying record. -

The Dead Girls
Out of Earshot
Rocket Heart Records

Out of Earshot is the full-length LP from The Dead Girls, released on the heels of The Hair Trigger and Te Quiero EPs. The 12-track album offers a complete version of what the EPs sampled, showing a band that blends classic-rock vigor with dulcet power pop.

Once again, The Dead Girls prove to be more than the sum of their parts. The quartet isn’t limited to just classic rock, nor is it limited to pop. With musical proficiency and maturity, these four Lawrence music veterans take the best elements out of two differing genres and inject their own style into the record.

Where power pop can grow repetitive with overly catchy refrains and where classic rock can grow weary with on-cue guitar solos, The Dead Girls bridge the gap. “Later,” the album’s first track, eases the listener in with a comfortable, light acoustic guitar. But it soon spirals into a climactic frenzy and eventually into “Te Quiero,” the album’s catchiest, peppiest song.

Upbeat tracks such as “Te Quiero” shine on the album. That song, along with “Hair Trigger” and “You Ignited,” best capture the band’s energetic yet focused dynamic. While radio-friendly and helplessly infectious, each element — whether it’s a chugging guitar or prominent bass line — makes the songs work. On “You Ignited,” each instrument and vocal rings out clearly and makes its presence known while complementing the other.

Throughout the album, syncopated rhythms set a counterpoint against a melodic backdrop, eventually catching up and culminating in confident, substantial tunes.

Much of the album’s music demonstrates the talent of a band that integrates its roots beautifully. “Why the Sun Kills the Moon” sets the harmonic, crisp power-pop mood of influences like Big Star, and mixes it with the swirling, dueling heavy guitar influence of Thin Lizzy. The result is a well-constructed, imaginative song that is undoubtedly characteristic of The Dead Girls.

With a passionate immediacy, a tight grasp on influences, and a strongly developed sense of self, The Dead Girls continue to bolster their status in the local music scene with Out of Earshot.
— michelle o’brien { special to ink }

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by Nick Spacek

The first two or three times I saw the Dead Girls, they were rough around the edges. The vocals and instrumentation didn't quite mesh, and the songs weren't nearly as good as either of the members' prior bands.

I then didn't see them for a year or so, and happened to come across the band at the Jackpot one night. It was like another band up there on stage. The Dead Girls are now a tightly-knit four-piece that performs their brand of power-pop with the self-assured presence of a band that's been around far longer.

The Dead Girls' assurance may come from the four members being very aware of their influences. They don't go so far as to cop riffs or lyrics from any of the bands from which they draw. In every song, however, there's something in the tone or delivery to which you can point and say, "That's a Thin Lizzy bit" ("Last Words") or "Those are some Fleetwood Mac chord progressions" ("She Can Turn It Off").

It's not surprising: I've never seen a group of musicians who like playing other people's music as much as the Dead Girls. The four members have variously played in tributes to Thin Lizzy, Guns 'n' Roses, and the soundtrack to Adventureland.

Still, the band takes all these influences, adds in a large dollop of Big Star, and turns them into something all their own. While you can hear the R.E.M. jangle on "What's Another Day," there's a heavy bass line running through the song, giving it a honky-tonk undertone that's totally unexpected.

"You Ignited" and "Te Quiero" are the strongest tracks on the album, by virtue of being the most upbeat. They're the tunes that usually get the people in front of the stage rocking and singing along most strongly, and I foresee both songs getting a lot of windows-down, stereo-cranked car stereo plays this summer.

Rocket Heart Records has put out a gem of a record here, and it's even an actual record. Out of Earshot is a warm, friendly, inviting recording, and it's the sort of music that just sounds better with a little bit of crackle running behind it.



2006: What A Perfect Ending CD (Reignition Recordings)

2009: The Hair Trigger EP (Docked Jams)

2009: Te Quiero EP (Docked Jams)

2010: Out of Earshot (Rocket Heart Records)

2011: "She Laughed A Little" b/w "It's All Happening" [feat. Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack] (Rocket Heart Records)

Tracks from all releases streaming at and



In May of 2003, Midwest power pop icons Ultimate Fakebook called it quits. Though they were adored by their rabid fans, and were still being bombarded with opportunities, UFB – like countless other bands at the time – fell prey to the economic crisis, which in turn would help to form a stagnant fog of indifference in the music world. A domino effect ensued, leading to the subsequent breakups of several other area bands like Podstar – a band of UFB protégés who had barely graduated from high school – and the overall deflation of the Lawrence, KS music scene. However, for UFB’s rhythm section (drummer Eric Melin and bassist Nick Colby) and Podstar’s songwriting team (singer/guitarists Cameron Hawk and JoJo Longbottom), cashing in the 401K was not an option. As far as they were concerned, this bleak midwinter was only further proof that the rock must be kept alive. So, in 2004, they formed Dead Girls Ruin Everything, and began fanning the fire with their debut release on NYC’s Reignition Records, What a Perfect Ending, which was produced and recorded under the direction of a punk rock legend – Descendents/ALL guitarist and songwriter Stephen Egerton. Shortly after, the band decided to shorten their name to The Dead Girls, but not before the original name ironically won accolades from Dave Eggers’ in the “Best Band Names” section of The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007.

Following their debut, The Dead Girls toured or shared the stage with several of the nation’s best rock acts, including Motion City Soundtrack, Brendan Benson, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Smoking Popes, The Posies, Dinosaur Jr, and even KISS. It was during this period the band began work on their sophomore album, Out of Earshot, a project that was met with numerous conflicts. Hoping to free themselves from the restrictions of working in a studio, The Dead Girls recorded the majority of the album at Longbottom’s house, with the exception of a few studio visits to record drum and bass tracks. After several hours of work were accidentally erased by a studio intern – work that was replaced during a weekend session in the dead of winter at a studio with no heat – Out of Earshot finally saw release in April of 2010 on Rocket Heart Records, following two EPs in 2009 that were each dedicated to a track on the album (“Hair Trigger”, “Te Quiero”).

The Dead Girls continue to tour the Midwest and melt the faces of fellow rock addicts everywhere. This November will see the release of their first 7” single on Rocket Heart Records, “She Laughed a Little” b/w “It’s All Happening”. The former track is a one-off recording produced by Jim Barnes and Isaac Flynn of Lawrence, KS studio The Art House; the latter features vocals and guitar contributions from Motion City Soundtrack front man Justin Pierre, and was written and recorded in JoJo’s basement in four hours one day when Pierre came through Lawrence to promote MCS’s My Dinosaur Life album. Next up for The Dead Girls will be the release of their third full-length album, projected for Spring 2012.