Girly-Sound is the moniker under which singer-songwriterLiz Phair recorded several self-produced cassettes in 1991. The cassettes were later made available as bootlegs and some tracks have been officially released. Girly-Sound is also the name used to refer to the demos or bootlegs collectively. The recordings have been called "legendary" by Spin Magazine and by AllMusic "one of the most popular and sought-after alternative rock bootlegs of all time".
Recorded on a 4-track tape recorder in her childhood bedroom at her parents' house, Phair initially gave copies of the tapes to only two people: Chris Brokaw and Tae Won Yu. However, copies of the Girly-Sound tapes were passed from person to person and became somewhat of a sensation in the American tape trading/zine subculture. Brokaw later told Rolling Stone how he had urged Phair to record something and a few months later received one 14-song tape, getting the second 14-song tape a month after that. In 1992, Phair signed a deal with Matador Records on the strength of a tape she had sent in consisting of 6 Girly-Sound songs.
Phair has frequently gone back and reworked many of the songs for her studio albums throughout her career: she told Rolling Stone "I go in there and rip stuff off – it's like a library". Phair's debut album Exile in Guyville is largely a reworking of songs from these tapes. However, some of these tracks were modified in ways that altered the meaning and made them more mainstream-acceptable: in "Flower" the line "I’ll fuck you and your girlfriend, too" was changed to "I’ll fuck you and your minions, too", removing the queer subtext.
Five tracks were released in 1995 on the Juvenilia EP and a bonus disc of Girly-Sound tracks was included with the physical release of Phair's 2010 album Funstyle. Additional tracks appeared on the reissue of Exile in Guyville.
Although originally consisting of a total of three cassettes, the most common version of the Girly-Sound tapes that circulated among Phair's fans was an incomplete two disc compilation of songs from all three tapes, released on the Bliss and Fetish bootleg label, and processed with digital noise reduction. An earlier bootleg compilation of Girly-Sound material, Secretly Timid, was also released. Early in 2006, mp3s of first generation copies of the first two tapes were introduced via Phair's online community, bringing to light the original track listing, correct song names, and album titles and more importantly introducing a number of songs that did not appear on the previous Girly-Sound bootlegs. The third Girly-Sound tape and information of its complete contents remains elusive. As a result, Phair's Girly-Sound tapes are still one of the most sought-after alternative-rock bootlegs.
Fragments from "In Love With Yourself", "Johnny Sunshine" and "Money" appeared on the "Supernova" single, condensed into one track called "Combo Platter (Girlysound)". The "Johnny Sunshine" fragment is played backwards.
^Keenan, E. (2010). "If Liz Phair's Exile in guyville made you a feminist, what kind of feminist are you?: Heterosexuality, race, and class in the third wave". Women & Music: A Journal Of Gender And Culture14: 45–71.