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Spanish Sirens - By will-reisman - October 12, 2016 - SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Spanish Sirens

Carlotta Cosials grew up in Madrid, separated from the U.S. by 3,000 miles, a language, and a considerable cultural barrier.

Still, it didn’t take long for her to develop a lasting appreciation for American music.

“There was one night when I went out illegally as a 16-year-old to the only venue in Madrid that played indie rock,” says Cosials, whose band, Hinds, will perform on Sunday, Oct. 16.

“The club was closing and the lights were on, and I was making out with this guy, and this Strokes song came on, and when I heard it, I thought, ‘Wow, this is best night of my life.’ I was hooked after that.”

Around 2008, Cosials and a tightknit group of about 30 fellow music lovers in Madrid started voraciously consuming all the American tunes they could find, leading them to discover acts like the Black Lips and Mac DeMarco. It also connected Cosials with Ana Perrote, whom she would later form a band with despite the two having no musical experience whatsoever.

“She was the best friend of my boyfriend at the time,” the 25-year-old says. “The first time I met her, we stayed up all night talking, and we became super best friends.”

After learning the rudimentary disciplines of guitar, the two began playing cover songs in 2011, sharing lead vocal duties under the moniker Deers. After a disastrous early gig — “I thought we were incredibly lame,” Cosials says — the pair dropped the project for a couple of years, before reforming in 2013 determined to write new music.

“We had a lot of support from our friends, and they were always asking us when we were playing next,” Cosials says. “So I spoke with Ana and basically said, ‘Dude, we had something really special. We should get back together and write our own songs this time.’ ”

Cosials and Perrote soon expanded the band to include bassist Ade Martin and drummer Amber Grimbergen and renamed the group Hinds.

The group’s breezy, tropical-infused garage rock, charming lo-fi production, and arresting vocal harmonies — featured on a series of singles released in 2014 and 2015 — quickly garnered them an international following.

A few widely circulated YouTube music videos — which showcased the group drinking homemade cocktails, smoking cigarettes, and generally having a fucking blast — helped spread their rambunctious, fun-loving appeal. Last year, they embarked on two American tours, and in January, they released their debut record, Leave Me Alone, to strong critical acclaim.

While the group rejoices in the party girl image they cemented through YouTube, they write songs that have a melancholy tinge to them and that revolve around tales of past boyfriends, broken hearts, and tortured decisions.

Cosials and Perrote split writing duties, and their Spanish accents lend a beguiling, endearing lilt to their saccharine, English-language lyrics.

“It’s almost like writing poetry,” says Cosials, who describes her voice as “dirty” and Perrote’s as “fat.” “Like trying to find the most beautiful way of changing it from Spanish to English.”

And because the two friends share such a tight connection, they’re comfortable singing lyrics written by each other.

“We have the same ideas about love,” she adds. “Our hearts evolve the same way, so it’s so easy to write together and sing each other’s words.”

While this all may sound like heavy stuff, audiences at Treasure Island shouldn’t expect some mournful, somber performance when Hinds take the stage. These girls still like to have a bunch of fun.

“The last two times we played in San Francisco, I ended up crowd surfing,” Cosials says. “And we cannot wait to play there again. It’s going to be amazing.”