Hard Girls gets it together on “Guadalupe On The Banks Of The Styx”

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Following the release of its second album, A Thousand Surfaces, Hard Girls’ profile increased in small, meaningful ways. After backing Operation Ivy vocalist Jesse Michaels in Classics Of Love, A Thousand Surfaces proved the San Jose trio was just as powerful without a punk legend on the mic. The band would tour hard in support of the record, opening for the stacked package tour of Say Anything, Modern Baseball, and Cymbals Eat Guitars. In a rare move, the bands it was opening for began covering its songs, and Modern Baseball went as far as releasing its version of “The Quark” this summer.

While Hard Girls has yet to announce a new album, The A.V. Club is streaming a new song from the band, “Guadalupe On The Banks Of The Styx.” Built on guitarist-vocalist Mike Huguenor’s looping riff, the tension slowly builds, exploding open when he howls, “Hey, get it together.” Huguenor explians that the song was inspired by San Francisco’s tech boom spilling over into San Jose, and the negative effects that have been trickling down ever since.

San Jose, our hometown, used to be a city where the poor and middle class found prosperity together. Historically it’s a very multicultural city, with a long history of programs for betterment of the poor. But in the Web 2.0 era it has become almost exclusively a city for the one percent. Real estate prices have spiked enormously in a very short period of time. As a direct result of the changing economic environment, San Jose cultivated the largest homeless camp in the country, known as “The Jungle.” In recent years, the city broke up The Jungle, forcing thousands of people who had finally found somewhere to stay to be scattered throughout the streets. “Guadalupe On The Banks Of The Styx” is a song about a place that was once beautiful—where anyone could find peace for just the cost of crossing the river—but has, in our lifetime, become a place of lost and wandering souls.

Hard Girls will be on tour supporting Jeff Rosenstock this fall.

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