Although it makes some sense to lump Grass Widow in with the Vivians, Dum Dums, and various other "girl groups" that rushed onto the indie underground stages of the late 2000s, the San Francisco-based trio is actually a slightly different animal. Formed, predictably enough, in the late 2000s, the group is comprised of Hannah Lew, Raven Mahon, and Lillian Maring; the three utilize the same sort of egalitarian, D.I.Y. embrace of collective creative possibility embodied by Rough Trade heroes such as the Raincoats, Essential Logic, and Kleenex/LiLiPUT. There's simply no denying the influence of the first wave of British D.I.Y. bands here -- whether it's deliberate or not -- yet while Grass Widow certainly work with the raw ore of a bygone era, the final product remains of their own time.
Like the aforementioned bands did with the more derivative, brutish aspects of England's Dreaming-era punk, Grass Widow subvert the laconic fuzzed-out punk wallop of their contemporaries by embracing a skittering, disarming approach to rhythm, one born equally out of innovation and necessity. The group's distinctive three-part vocal approach likewise creates an off-kilter moodiness that further complicates what are ultimately rudimentary post-punk tunes. The effect, when it works, can be quite impressive; when it doesn't, it still feels inspired. The band's debut, a self-titled full-length, appeared on the tiny Make a Mess label in 2009; it was followed shortly thereafter by an EP on the prodigious Brooklyn label Captured Tracks. After a move to the Kill Rock Stars label, the trio released their debut record, Past Lives, in August of 2010.