Girl Teeth: Strong and steady

By Kristen Stanovich

Photo by Tommy Calderon

“My face is melting,” says Pluto Eolande into the mic on the stage of Loudhouse. Their cheeks glisten with glitter and sweat, not unlike most of the crowd occupying the living room heated by the premature summer heat. Despite the humidity in the room and condensation forming on the windows, the space is filled with spectators of all ages waiting eagerly for Girl Teeth to begin their set.

The members of Girl Teeth are significantly cooler than me and the teens I grew up with, from their septum piercings to their ability to articulate exactly what having a crush actually feels like. They’re also some of the most talented of the young crop of musicians rising up through the inner workings of Make.Shift and the house show scene, singing seemingly innocent, but also hard-hitting songs that make you want to laugh, cry and hug the person standing next to you in the pit.

At Loudhouse, the four-piece begins to play “Feel Better,” a slow, reverb-laden track with steady, pretty guitar riffs that build into a chaotic, beautifully discordant solo played by lead guitarist Forrest Meyer. Drummer Emma Hartwell’s steadfast and dynamic percussive beats on the cymbals and alternating hits on the kick drum allow the song to build into a climactic jam session that breaks down into a satisfying smile-inducing finish.

The second track “Liar” is quicker, with riffs played by guitarist Carter Malone and Forrest coming in after each verse with finger-tapped solos altered with a tremolo pedal and echo effects.

“I took my pedal board and was like ‘OK what’s it sound like when everything is turned on? OK that sounds terrible,’” Forrest said. “So then I turned off a few things and started clicking pedals until I liked what it sounded like.”

Evolving from an Avril Lavigne cover band at Make.Shift’s Valentine’s Day Cover Show last year, Girl Teeth, formerly Soda Pup, knew they didn’t want to stop making music after “Sk8er Boi.” The band has since become a constant collaborative experiment, where all decisions are consensus-based.

“Usually we all agree unanimously,” Carter said. “If we all can’t agree then it doesn’t feel right.”

“That is so real,” Pluto said, laughing.

(They even agree on that).

From lyrics, which Pluto said are inspired by “being sad and gay,” to their genre, described by Emma as “sad rock” or “shoe-g-a-y-s,” the stylistic goal behind the songs and the band as a whole align perfectly amongst all members, and the Bellingham community which the band says has been more supportive of the young group than they had anticipated.

“[Our shows] have all been really great experiences. There hasn’t been a single one I have not felt wonderful about,” Forrest said. “The second show at Loudhouse there was a group of people there that I had never seen before, but they had like the ‘Super Fan’ vibe and they were like ‘Yeah Girl Teeth!’ and I was like, ‘How do you know us?’”

Those reactions have since become commonplace among Bellingham show-goers of late, with many sharing the group’s Bandcamp and Facebook page on their own walls to emphasize the need to see them live. The group has even received offers to do podcast interviews solely based on their Bandcamp.

The group recently recorded an EP with Erik Takuichi Wallace of Shibusa Sound – an experience Carter said was amazing. Having worked together on local projects like Bellingham SoundCheck, Emma and Erik made a deal for recording time in his home studio here in Bellingham.

“I was like ‘Erik, we have no money, but my parents can give you a lot of coffee.’ Shoutout Hammerhead Coffee Roasters,” Emma said. “He was like ‘OK’ so we just went there a couple weeks ago and we recorded it and the next day he had the songs.”

The EP, featuring three tracks running just over 10 minutes, was released on Bandcamp June 11, but the band also aspires to record a full-length album in the future before setting off on a tour.

“The more we play the more personal it gets,” Carter said. “I want to incorporate that into shows, the interactions because I really like that, to be able to talk to people or just genuinely feel like they’re interested in what’s happening.”

MORE INFO: Catch Girl Teeth online at girlteeth.bandcamp.com/album/demo. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for show dates and band updates. 

Published in the July 2016 issue of What’s Up! Magazine