You can't improve what's already perfect, so if you're going to cover a perfect pop song, at least strive to do it justice, right?
Before his tenure with Guided By Voices and Nada Surf, guitarist Doug Gillard launched his own Cleveland-based rock outfit called Gem. Gem released their album Hexed in 1994 and the only major FM station to have a local music show put the single "Suburban Girl" into rotation.
I'm a few years younger than Gillard and was also kicking around the NE Ohio area playing in bands around that time (we've never met). From the first listen, "Suburban Girl" lodged itself deep in my brain. There's the droll lyrics about being impressed by your girlfriend's dad's lawn. There's the not-quite deadpan delivery. The guitars that feel like summer heat radiating off the pavement as you kill time before your evening shift. There's just something very midwest about the whole thing. Power pop from the land of Pere Ubu and Cobra Verde.
So, this song, stuck in my brain for almost 30 years.
And then, in 2020, while working on Car Trouble songs, I made a demo. And I just kept messing with it for another two years, poking at it, putting my own spin on it and finally pulling Patrick (from Explone, you know that by now) in last year to cut a most worthy guitar solo.
You can't improve what's already perfect. Did we do it justice? I'd like to think so! Please enjoy our version of "Suburban Girl" by Gem, now available on your favorite streaming service. And thank you, Mr. Gillard, for the 3-minute time machine. Ohio remembers!