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You Cannot Replace That Memory – On Cheap Girls

When you get into your late 20s and early 30s, I’ve always believed that you’ve made all the friends you’re going to make for life. Sure, I mean, perhaps some new acquaintances come in like a breeze and then quickly exit… but the stalwarts, the dependables, the drinking buddies have been firmly established and little can change this. Now into my 30s I have come to realize that this is pretty much accurate.

Oddly enough, I had also assumed this to be true of bands. What I mean to say is, the bands that I had been collecting and treasuring like a mint condition baseball card or a cherished photo or a memory of first drinks and awkward kisses… well I just assumed that these bands were engrained in me and I was not in a position to pick up any more along the way. As if all the slots had been filled already. After all, first loves are just that – you cannot replace that memory – it’s always there and isn’t one to be knocked off a pedestal. And so the memories of singing (see: screaming) along to a band like American Nightmare in a beaten up 1990 blue Volvo with my friends or seeing Voxtrot live just at the moment you needed those lyrics and jangles emanating from their guitars in your late teens/early 20s just cannot seemingly be matched. Now-a-days, after all, you might have the chance to check out a new band for a song or two on your morning commute to work while you have eight other things on your mind. The stakes aren’t as high, the emotions not nearly on the surface like they once were. Shame on me I guess.

That is a long-winded way of saying – I think I was wrong. When it comes to the bands at least…

Cheap Girls is the band that has a dirty, dusty 45 waiting to be played in the corner of your favorite dive’s jukebox, and it’s always been there somehow. They’re the type of band where when you are holed up at the bar, head down, you would rather just be humming a tune of theirs and writing the lyrics down on a soon to be forgotten text message to a long-lost whatever than, god forbid, actually be conversing with another human being. They are the friendships that you can no longer muster up the wherewithal to form. Thankfully they get you more than any new human being could, much like any great love. I don’t even remember how we met. I don’t remember how that first LP “Find Me a Drink Home” came across my speakers. But maybe that’s the point – it’s like it was always there. The familiar buzz of the guitar, the song patterns and chord progressions that feel like a home. Ian’s voice – at once resigned but also defiant.

Certain people and certain times much like certain bands at certain times…that tumultuous hurricane that takes one out of their 20s and into their 30s while still attempting to figure whatever is going on in your own head. “My Roaring 20s” – Cheap Girls’ second LP – miniature stories set to driving guitar rock dealing with failures, and friends screwing up, and trying to get clean (whatever that may mean to whoever is listening because we all need sprucing up in some way) and in the end – just trying to make it out alive…I needed that album before it came out, and like a trusty friend it was there right when I needed it most.

Oh, there’s more…and I could wax poetic for days on their next couple of LPs or whatever. I guess my point is: don’t discount something good when it comes your way. Life gets busy, stuff gets messy, and it seems like time isn’t a luxury to be afforded on a new band. And then in the back of your head you remember that we’re all the same kids singing along in a beat up old junker who need those tunes just to make it another day. I swear, that kid is in there still. Cheap Girls helped me find him again.

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