girlfriends have today released their new album titled ‘(e)motion sickness)’ via Big Noise Records. girlfriends (all lowercase) is a dynamic duo that is not a stranger to their fans. Selling out venues like The Roxy and getting 30+ million streams for their debut album, you would think that girlfriends would have enough pressure in trying to top that. ‘(e)motion sickness’ is, what I call, the dispelling of that rumor.
A solid follow-up in writing and execution, each track takes the listener a little further down the road on a ride that inches along in a way as to stop and enjoy what’s there while moving you ahead with anticipation as to what is next. Consider the album bookended and filled with 14 individual tracks that, collectively, make a story. An encapsulation of endearing and enjoyable music that stays with you. Summer is here.
“It’s the perfect description of how I’ve been feeling over the last 2 years. Struggling with an emotional duality that forces one to overthink, overreact and look at the world in harsh contrast. It’s poking fun at my tendency to be dramatic. How my guilty pleasure is self expression. Me saying to myself “We get it… you’re sad.”Travis Mills
“It’s the perfect description of how I’ve been feeling over the last 2 years. Struggling with an emotional duality that forces one to overthink, overreact and look at the world in harsh contrast. It’s poking fun at my tendency to be dramatic. How my guilty pleasure is self expression. Me saying to myself “We get it… you’re sad.”
As the exceedingly prolific pair known as girlfriends, Travis Mills and Nick Gross conjure songs that are at once pleasingly familiar and warmly unique. Both guys walked right up to the edge of stardom as teens. Today, girlfriends is blowing up with a fresh take on the type of caffeinated pop-punk that first inspired them, making music both timely and timeless. As SPIN Magazine observed, “the hooks are huge, and the emotions are raw.”
Not long after forming, girlfriends sold out The Roxy in Los Angeles; supported Mod Sun and Grayscale on different tours; opened for Machine Gun Kelly and jxdn; and rocked a radio festival with Twenty One Pilots and Weezer. The earnest conviction and heartfelt passion heard in the group’s music quickly amassed over 500,000 monthly listeners on Spotify alone, where fans streamed their 2020 self-titled debut 30 million times, driven by songs like “California,” “Where Were You” (featuring Travis Barker), and “Jessica.”
girlfriends dropped “Congratulations,” featuring popular SoundCloud rapper Jasiah, as a standalone single in late spring 2021. “Tattoo” arrived less than two months later. Early 2022 saw the dual release of “Missing You” and “Pretty Mouth.”
Before girlfriends formed, neither Travis nor Nick were strangers to creativity or community. Creative hunger and entrepreneurial idealism drove both of them down similar roads. Gross joined a major label alt-rock band featured prominently on MTV’s Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and TRL. The brash rap songs Travis posted on MySpace as T. Mills led to a major label deal, a spot on the Warped Tour, and a cadre of diehard fans.
As Forbes wrote when Travis was just 22, “he sings and raps [but] his image is that of a punk rocker, while his fan base is something similar to that of a pop star.” After the last T. Mills release, Travis became a host for Apple Music’s 1 and MTV’s Ghosted: Love Gone Missing. Nick’s post-major-label career included session work and the eventual birth of Gross Labs. After seeing Nick play drums in an Instagram story, Travis gave him a call. It was a no-brainer for the duo to enlist producer John Feldmann (Blink-182, 5 Seconds Of Summer, The Used). SPIN called girlfriends’ 2020 debut “polished, impassioned, and commanding,” comparing their cross-genre appeal to MGK, Trippie Redd, and Mod Sun.
girlfriends is a vehicle for self-expression, a means to process grief, uncertainty, and renewed vigor for life destined to connect with others who struggle.
“I love that music is getting back to a place where it’s less materialistic, and it’s more human,” says Mills. “Much of the music we grew up listening to was tied to intense emotions – heartbreak, pain, suffering. Music was a catharsis. Getting to tell our story in the studio the way we wanted to, without fear of judgment, that’s what it’s all about.”
That’s something girlfriends will never take for granted.
Featured image by Matty Vogel.