Like Brooklyn's answer to Toronto's Broken Social Scene and San Francisco's Deerhoof, the Jealous Girlfriends make a virtue out of eclecticism, moving easily from noisy, Sonic Youth-style fractured guitar raveups to jazzy ballads with trip-hop keyboards, and neatly navigating a near-total change in musical direction between their first and second albums. The Jealous Girlfriends began in 2004 as a duo featuring singer/guitarist Holly Miranda and multi-instrumentalist Alex Lipsen. Being a producer and studio owner by trade, Lipsen had produced or engineered records for TV on the Radio, Son Volt, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and his Williamsburg studio -- Headgear Recording -- provided Miranda and Lipsen with a low-pressure space to explore their own music during off-hours.
The Jealous Girlfriends' 2005 debut, Comfortably Uncomfortable, was recorded as a duo and self-released on their own label; the album's first single, "Lay Around," appeared on an episode of the Showtime series The L Word, raising the band's visibility. For the live shows after the album's release, Lipsen's studio manager, Josh Abbott, was recruited as the duo's drummer, but after revealing an ability to sing and write songs, he became the Jealous Girlfriends' co-frontperson, sharing guitar and vocal duties with Miranda while Lipsen moved to keyboards and new drummer Mike Fadem took over the throne. Adopting a new band persona as a democratic mini-collective in the style of a slimmed-down Broken Social Scene, with all four members contributing to the songwriting and special guests drafted in for specific songs, the Jealous Girlfriends released their quite different self-titled second album in 2007. ~ Stewart Mason