Premiere: Earth Girls, “Wanderlust”

Liz Panella from Earth Girls. Photo by Peter Nelson

Harmonies grip onto riffs and don’t let go on the debut LP from Chicago’s Earth Girls.
With hooks that are bombastic and sweet at the same time, the songs on Wanderlust take a chance on mixing twee and punk. This is perfect and unapologetic power pop, out August 12th from Grave Mistake.

We asked guitarist/vocalist Liz Panella to walk us through the songs on Wanderlust.
—Ally-Jane Grossan

I Thought You Knew—I generally don’t write lyrics with a specific topic in mind. I like to play around with the rhythms and sounds of words and try to fit them to a melody, so a lot of the time the lyrics to my songs are stream of consciousness thoughts that I’ve edited to make at least a little bit of sense. I think that I Thought You Knew is about emotional projection and how sometimes it’s too easy to assume that everyone around you is feeling the same way you are.

Don’t Let GoDon’t Let Go is a pretty standard “lamenting the loss of one’s youth” song. I was thinking of the Beach Boys when I wrote it, so I think that’s why it came out as a love song. The object of the love isn’t a particular person necessarily but maybe just a moment in time.

Expensive HabitsExpensive Habits was challenging to record because of the tempo changes. We recorded the album in my best friend’s beautiful 19th century house. I was in the parlor, Joey was in the living room, and Kris had all the equipment set up on the dining room table. It was also one of the coldest weekend of the Polar Vortex of 2015 and we almost froze to death loading equipment into the car when we were done.

Gaslighting—For Gaslighting, I decided to experiment with writing a song from the perspective of another person, in this case a fictitious character experiencing emotional abuse from their partner. Although the song doesn’t specifically describe anything that has happened to me, it is generally inspired by my own experiences.

Wanderlust—“Wanderlust sums up the record’s general theme of feeling out of place in one’s own life and learning how to come to terms with it.

Say Goodnight—I wrote Say Goodnight many years ago and I don’t remember what inspired it. The time it was written was one of the happiest periods of my life. When we were recording we experimented a lot with extra percussion but most of it didn’t end up in the final mix.

Not Prepared for Love—Normally I hate leaving anything unplanned before going to the studio. I don’t like improvising and I’d rather have every note planned out. Not Prepared for Love was an exception. I didn’t know what to do for the solo part and pretty much just winged it. I’m happy with how it turned out but am not planning on getting in the habit of doing it that way.

For Granted—For Granted was written at the same time as Say Goodnight. The band that originally played these songs was called The Waifs and was based in Boston when I was living there. The drummer Tom is also in Witches With Dicks and the bassist Rob does really cool solo stuff nowadays.

Only Human—Around the time we recorded our demo, a friend of mine was having relationship issues. I wrote the lyrics to Only Human from the perspective of how I imagined she must have been feeling. The part of the first verse where I say “forced to hide away with my whole extended family, stop living in fear of being forced to come clean” is actually inspired by something else completely, but it flows well with the rest of the song so I left it in.

Oxford CommaOxford Comma is about my obsession with words and language and how these can be a powerful weapon, whether intentionally or unintentionally. I struggle a lot with writing because there are so many ways to say the same thing and I’m always looking for the most perfect way to express myself. I’ve had to come to terms with this and realize that even if I find the perfect way to say something, I’ll probably feel differently about it the next time I revisit it so the whole undertaking is somewhat futile anyway.

Exit Plan—We originally recorded Wanderlust in the summer of 2014 but scrapped the initial session. Some of the songs that were originally meant for the album got released as a seven inch on Dirt Cult, so I needed to write a couple of new songs for the second LP session. Exit Plan and Öland were written much more quickly than the earlier songs because I was in a very different state of mind at the time. Exit Plan is basically a snapshot into how I was feeling in the winter of 2014/15.

ÖlandÖland is a tribute to the nostalgia that often goes hand in hand with that feeling of wanderlust. People love to romanticize a place and time that they didn’t experience, and this song is my interpretation of that tendency.

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