The San Francisco-based indie-rock band Girls elicits comparison to Elvis Costello and Buddy Holly, and not without reason—leader Christopher Owens’ ingenuity and snark carry the band’s debut disc, “Album,” a pop free-for-all that’s bubbling over with crispness and life. A swell record from start to finish, Owens’ songs show deep compassion and centeredness—a feeling difficult to describe, but when you hear Owens’ lyrics and innocence-sprinkled delivery, the music becomes an embraceable object begging to be lifted and carried. The songwriter has mentioned in interviews that he grew up in the Children of God cult and that the experience has informed his music—such a bizarre and deeply tragic history cannot be ignored by listeners. Girls is one of the few bands from this year hyped insanely by various blogs that actually deserves the good notices. (Tom Lynch)
Girls play November 12-13 at Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, (773)276-3600, at 10pm. $5-$10.