Glamour Hotline— Chicago’s Spooky, Cool Girls
Written by Maya Durfee O’Brien
They embody all that it means to be girls in a band; one that is influenced by those that came before, like Sleater Kinney and Bikini Kill, but are careful to be themselves at the same time.
Glamour Hotline is Hayley Jordanna, Riley Cavanaugh, and Alex Lukawski. On their new EP, Spooky Cool Girls, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a girl from their point of view.
In October, Glamour Hotline had an EP release show at a co-op venue called Eco in Pilsen. I went in not knowing what to expect; I had seen them play at Township in Logan Square a month earlier. They were loud, angry at the world, angry at men— at that time their message was cliché to me.
Something changed for me when I saw them play on that windy October night. Maybe it was the atmosphere and like-minded people, who were mostly girls in attendance, but I could already tell that their set was going to be memorable. They were real people just like me, doing what they love and singing about the issues and topics they believe in.
They played their whole EP through, stopping after one song to invite all the girls to the front, an action very popular during the Riot Grrl movement of the 90s. At that time men dominated the mosh pit, so sending girls to the front was an attempt to equalize the playing field of men and women in punk. During that song, in the front row moshing my heart out, my friends by my side, I felt whole, I felt like I belonged. If you can get that out of music, then that is magical and something that should be cherished. The band engaged with the crowd; they were not rigid, you could just tell that playing music was something that they love to do. It’s shows like that that I live for. Those shows that make you feel good about the world, they make you feel invincible. Glamour Hotline did that for me.
Their album, Spooky Cool Girls, starts out with the song, “Riot,” a fast paced track, with surf-pop vibes, though it is very clear in getting across the band’s punk rock attitude. Jordanna billows, “I wanna take my brain, I wanna set it on fire…I betcha I can make the revolution go.” This is something that Glamour Hotline tries to communicate through their music: The idea that by tackling issues that they care about in music, they can help to inspire others in whatever capacity one may want as Jordanna said,“to do something about it,” or in this case to “Riot.”
The last song on the EP, “Being a Girl,” is the first song that was written by the band, initially only Jordanna & Cavanaugh. “Originally we weren’t even into that song that much, but Alex really made it whole,” Jordanna says. “I think the entire album just kind of spurred off that song.”
“Being a Girl” is one of my favorite songs on the EP. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman who can relate to creepy men following me or telling me that I look pretty, but I also like it because of how real it is. It’s not a cheesy love song about some boy. In the simplest terms, it is about “Being a Girl,” and how shitty that can be.
The song “Sk8r” is essentially all about girl empowerment through the art of skateboarding. Lukawski sings, “She don’t care what they think, She don’t care what they say, She don’t care what they want, She’s gonna do it anyway.” This same notion goes for Glamour Hotline. They’re going to do what they want no matter what anyone else says, not just because they are a band made up of three girls, but because they can do what they want.
“We recorded at a place called Pinky Swear in Humboldt Park, our friend Lindsay Sherman recorded us,” Cavanaugh says. They recorded live, which is something that Jordanna said a lot of bands don’t do. “I think it worked for our sound really well because whenever we play- it’s not different every time, but we really feed off of each other,” Jordanna says.
As far as what they want people to get out of their first EP, it’s simple: “Girls being in bands and playing music and empowerment,” said Lukawski. They want people to be more aware of the struggles faced by women, while helping to inspire them along the way.
For them that’s what it’s all about. It’s about making people feel something with their music so they will think about things differently, or maybe just in a way where they become more active about a situation— to just feel something. That is all anyone wants out of music, otherwise we wouldn’t listen to it.
“I wanna be in this band forever,” Jordanna says. “I just wanna make music that makes people feel things. Even if the message changes over the years I just wanna make music that means something.”
Check out Glamour Hotline’s Spooky Cool Girls at the Bandcamp link below.
Contact Maya by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
All photos courtesy of Alex Lukawski via Facebook