PLAYING DETROIT: GIRL FIGHT Release Fiery Sophomore Album ‘She’s a Killer’

COLUMNS|Playing Detroit

photo by Studio 29 Photos

Detroit feminist punk/noise band GIRL FIGHT released their sophomore record, She’s a Killer, last week – a politically charged twenty-minutes that barks and bites. Ellen Cope and Jacob Bloom fine-tune their brazen two-piece effort with tighter riffs and rhythms and lyrical prowess that breaks down complex topics and makes them digestible. The result is an album that begs for critical conversation as much as it does headbanging.

Back in 2017, Cope – who manages a team of web engineers by day – had never even touched a drum set, let alone taken to the stage with a microphone. “I have no musical background, I had never played an instrument or sung or done anything my entire life,” says Cope. It wasn’t until they saw British punk outfit Slaves live that the duo decided they were going to start a band. “They have a song called ‘Girl Fight,’” explains Bloom. “Right after the show, I went up to Ellen and I said, ‘We’re going to start a band, you’re going to play drums, and it’s going to be called GIRL FIGHT.”

It wasn’t long before Cope had purchased a children’s drum set from Craigslist and set it up on a Home Depot bucket and milk crates. She and Bloom started experimenting by playing covers of The Cramps. “We started writing our own songs and were like, these are actually pretty good,” remembers Bloom. After getting through their first live performance where the sound engineer asked them to leave the stage (they didn’t), they picked up a bi-weekly gig at a comedy show put on by local comedian and music enthusiast, Jason Brent. The group cut their teeth there and started to see their vision come to life.

A year after they started playing music together, they had a record – Fight Back, which Bloom views more as an EP or sample of what was to come. “Fight Back was like, ‘here is who we are and what we do, and She’s a Killer is like, ‘here is us making an album that sounds good.’” Their latest album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Paul Smith of The Strains and definitely shows a more polished version of the band.

While She’s a Killer is a bucket of water to the face sonically, it is just as hard-hitting lyrically, tackling things like race, gender, privilege and economic disparity. A few songs – “She’s a Killer” and “My Own God” – address personal empowerment and feeling strong and confident within, while “Ladder” is a plea for equality. “The song is about breaking down barriers and how we all have to help each other to get there,” says Cope. “You have to redistribute the power.”

Cope addresses her own privilege in “White Girl.” At first, she confronts white women who act as allies to minorities but end up abusing their power or turning a blind eye just the same. “White girl / think you’re so woke girl / your just a joke girl,” Cope shrieks in her cutting and powerful voice. Later, she turns the blame on herself. “I am a white girl / I am the problem / I am the oppressor.” She acknowledges that even having a platform from which to speak is a privilege. “As a white woman, being in front of a band yelling at people about stuff, I feel like it’s important to say, ‘Hey, I’m here yelling and you’re listening to me, but I’m not the only one you should be listening to.’” Both Cope and Bloom are conscious of their privilege and aim to use their platform as a way to encourage equality, power redistribution, and affecting change.

Listen to the full record and see tour dates below:

2/15 @ Bingle Mansion – Lansing, MI (w/ Rent Strike, she/her/hers, No Fun)
2/16 @ Charm School – Chicago, IL (w/ Pledge Drive, Wet Wallet, Sparkletears)
2/23 @ AIR: Artists Image Resource – Pittsburg, PA (w/ Dumplings, Princex, Jorts Season)