Douglas Martin’s Dirty Shoes: The Indie Rock Pop Quiz (Vivian Girls Edition)

Douglas Martin played semi-pro kickball for several years in the late ’80s. Do you spend more than 70 hours a week trawling indie rock websites squinting bleary-eyed until you think the members...
By    February 8, 2011

Douglas Martin played semi-pro kickball for several years in the late ’80s.

Do you spend more than 70 hours a week trawling indie rock websites squinting bleary-eyed until you think the members of Women are actually women? Have you ever thought about the concept of feminism beyond stale images of Gloria Steinem burning her bra to lower her E.R.A? Have you ever considered that women might be as good at creating music as they are at creating cupcakes? And if so, do you find cupcakes delicious?

These are important questions to consider. Though it’s admittedly not as interesting as deciphering what makes a wave chill and whether you are more bro-fi or glo-fi, issues still exist like the ones espoused in this article by Amy of Titus Andronicus. Despite its reputation as an ultra-liberal Brohalla, rumors do abound that maybe women (and, tangentially, homosexuals and people of color) still have to go through things when barnstorming through the technicolor altered zones.

In order to clarify matters and make myself eligible for a celebratory tofurkey dinner at The Smell, here’s a handy pop quiz that should take no more than five minutes of your time– using the lead single from Vivian Girls’ forthcoming Share the Joy, “I Heard You Say,” as a jump-off point.

1. Is your enjoyment of Vivian Girls’ music directly proportionate to how hot Kickball Katy is?
a. Yes (-10)
b. No (+5)
c. No, but now that you mention it, she is really hot. (0)
d. Anything involving the act of kicking balls is just a turnoff. (+1)

2. What was the biggest drawing point of Vivian Girls’ self-titled debut record?
a. The blend of classic pop singing over guitars that sound like rusty buzzsaws. (5)
b. How hot Kickball Katy is. (-10)
c. Frankie Rose (+2)
d. There were no drawing points to that record. (0)

3. Do Vivian Girls remind you of The Shaggs at all?
a. Are you kidding? Don’t you see them wearing matching outfits in their press photo? (-10)
b. Kinda, but whatever. I like The Shaggs. (-5)
c. Not really; they’re more like a less-shouty Descendants. (0)
d. What the fuck is Douglas Martin talking about? Who are these people? And where’s my Raincoat(s)? (+20)

4. What do you think about the namesake of Vivian Girls, the transgender heroines from the Henry Darger art piece?

a. I think naming your band after something like that is the most awesomely punk-rock thing anybody can do. (+10)
b. What? EWWWWWW. (-10)
c. Where does Rupaul fit into all those and have the Vivian Girls ever sashayed or shanted? (+1)
d. I never caught that Henry Darger art piece but I really liked the film adaptation starring John Candy (+5)

5. What is Vivian Girls‘ greatest contribution to contemporary indie-rock?
a. They not only popularized the C-86 Sound, but have also infused a simpler, more honest style of lyricism while maintaining a visceral, punk-rock edge. (+10)
b. I guess that whole girl-group punk thing is pretty cool. (0)
c. They’ve inspired a whole bunch of 19-year-old chicks to get a bunch of tattoos and crowd up my favorite dive bars, making it easier for me to score with hipster chicks. (-10)
d. Two words: Suicide Girls ())

6. Who does new drummer Fiona Campbell remind you the most of, in terms of ability?
a. Meg White (-5)
b. Janet Weiss (0)
c. Animal from the Muppets (+5)
d. Ringo (+10)

7. In your opinion, what is the most striking part of “I Heard You Say”?
a. The vocal harmonies– especially in the chorus– basically sound like a Celtic folk jam set to mid-fi surf-rock. (+10)
b. This song about boys sounds a little different from their other songs about boys. (-5)
c. Wow. They play solos? When did that start happening? (-15)
d. I didn’t hear that shit — go back to posting Big Pun B-Sides. (+10)

8. Do you think “I Heard You Say” is a good harbinger of what to expect on Share the Joy?
a. Yes. Vivian Girls have proven their worth as one of the most exciting groups working in indie-rock right now. (+10)
b. No, but only because I prefer their punkier past work. (+5)
c. Yes, but only because I’m surprised they can actually play their instruments. (-5)
d. I dunno. I don’t even like indie-rock. I just saw the hot redhead in the picture and decided to skim through this quiz. (-15)
e. If they didn’t want the album to be about sex why would they call it “Share the Joy.” That sounds like a Theodore Unit field trip to the Days Inn (0)

Less than 0 points: Put down the Ayn Rand book, go in the kitchen, and make your own fucking cupcake.
0 to 15 points: You’re not exactly a chauvinist (maybe a little bit), but it’s pretty clear you don’t care for Vivian Girls.
15 to 30 points: You judge every band the same way, regardless of what the members look like. You are definitely not part of the problem.
More than 30 points: You’ve probably gone to a Vivian Girls show with freshly baked cookies in tow for all of the band members.

MP3: Vivian Girls-“I Heard You Say”

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