REVIEW: Girl K’s ‘For Now’ is a Reminder We are All Living in the Same World

Girl K’s “For Now” was released Friday, March 15. With  the band’s second standing album, aside from singles being released over the past year, Girl K is more sure now than ever of their sound and what they want to offer to the world. The album release show took place Friday night at Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport Ave.

After interviewing Girl K’s frontwoman Kathy Patino last spring about the band’s album “Sunflower Court” and chatting about life and love, and then realizing Patino is the literal embodiment of everything good, I am stoked to be able to finally listen to another one of the Chicago rock band’s albums.

“For Now” reminds me of my past life. I am reminded of the love I once experienced in the local music scene, as well as the friends who have come and gone over the past year. A year I have become more deeply enveloped in Chicago music and the city as a whole. I feel as though listening to this new album is like telling myself that everything is going to be OK. I feel fine; I feel great. Listening to “For Now” today is feeling more at home.

Courtesy Girl K. “For Now” is now streaming on all music platforms.

“What do you want from her?” Patino sings in the album’s “Speed Racer.” The song is melancholy—a staple emotion for the band—but I am inspired by the message. This is a question I have been led to asking myself and others over the last year, especially. A whirlwind of a year. What could you possibly want from her that I don’t have?

Emotionally, the album is up and down. One happy, one sad, another happy. This is a familiar pattern in life. “So Strange” is a ballad of Patino’s heart, which is saddened by the world it seems. “I could never see the light in someone’s face. I could never be the one you need,” she sings. “And I hope it is me.” This push and pull of feeling alone. Feeling hopeless and unable to say anything, to express your feelings, to do something—do anything. It is something I wholeheartedly can relate to. I think that’s what Girl K is all about; being able to relate to and connect with listeners. They are a real-people band.

I feel like I know Girl K even after all the time that has passed. But it’s simple to say I know their sound because bands grow and change all the time. No two albums can be exactly the same, even in a general sense. This second album is grown up; Patino seems to have learned a few things since the release of “‘80s Baby” and “Neighbors.” There is more groove to “Stephanie.” There are still hints of that ‘90s influence she said was a major part in creating “Sunflower Court.” The surf-inspired guitar riffs and dream-like vocals. Tap your foot and sing along.

Courtesy Eden Bunna.

The show at Schubas was so exciting. Friends and fans sold out the venue hours before it took place. Engine Summer opened up the night, and Fran followed. Engine Summer was an up-beat chaotic mirroring of the ‘90s. The shouting,  dancing around and, frankly, the passion of the set riled up most in the room. Fran was soft, dreamy and relaxed; the vocals were heavenly. The two opening sets were complete opposites but prepared the room for Girl K to take the stage.

As soon as Girl K stepped on stage, the room proved the band’s dedicated fan-base, dedicated friends and supporters—how far the band had come from even a year ago. Most knew the words to every song played. Also note, it was an album release show, which means all of those people had listened to the album that day only and already knew the lyrics—myself included. Patino’s stage outfit was, per usual, totally her. It was creative and fun and sparkly. A perfect picture of who Patino is.

Courtesy Eden Bunna. Patino’s one-of-a-kind ensemble for the show Friday night.

The night was everything pure. Girl K inspired the room with ballads about love and life and Patino’s speech about how thankful she is for everyone in her life who has helped her get to where she is. “I can’t believe this is my life,” she humbly pleaded during the set. An angel.

Patino has a way of picking at listeners’ hearts with her steady, passionate but delicate voice. “For Now” does just that. Listen to “For Now” on all streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. Follow the Girl K Instagram account for the latest updates and news. Experience this wonderful little piece of Chicago’s music scene.