Girly Sound

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Artwork for Sooty
Demo album (Bootleg) by
Released1991, 2018
Labelself-released, Matador
ProducerLiz Phair
Girly-Sound chronology
Exile in Guyville
Singles from Girly-Sound To Guyville: The 25th Anniversary Box Set
  1. "Divorce Song"
    Released: March 15, 2018
  2. "Bomb"
    Released: April 19, 2018
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[1]

Girly-Sound is the name under which singer-songwriter Liz Phair recorded three self-produced cassettes in 1991. The cassettes were later made available as bootlegs, some songs saw official releases, and the tapes were released in their entirety in 2018. Girly-Sound is also the name used to refer to the demos or bootlegs collectively. The recordings have been called "legendary" by Spin Magazine[2] and by AllMusic "one of the most popular and sought-after alternative rock bootlegs of all time".[1]


Recorded on a 4-track tape recorder in her childhood bedroom at her parents' house, copies of the tapes were initially given by Phair 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[4][5][6]


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".[4] Much of Phair's debut album Exile in Guyville contains reworkings of songs from these tapes.[3] However, the content of some of these tracks was modified in ways that altered meanings and messages; in "Flower" the line "I’ll fuck you and your girlfriend, too" was changed to "I’ll fuck you and your minions, too."[7] In addition to this, the final chorus of "Bomb" which tells of a passenger on a plane sabotaging and taking it out was entirely removed; the title of the song was changed to "Stratford-on-Guy" and a new chorus was written. Reworkings of "Ant in Alaska" and "Wild Thing" appeared on the 2008 reissue of Exile in Guyville.[8]

Five songs were officially released in 1995 on the Juvenilia EP and a bonus disc of ten Girly-Sound songs was included with the physical release of Phair's 2010 album Funstyle.[5]


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 harsh digital noise reduction. An earlier bootleg compilation of Girly-Sound material, Secretly Timid, was also circulated. 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, tape titles, and introducing a number of songs that did not appear on the previous Girly-Sound bootlegs. Information about the third Girly-Sound tape, Sooty, was elusive until the 2018 release of Girly-Sound to Guyville, in which it was presented in its entirety.

2018 release[edit]

In 2018, for the 25th anniversary of its original release, Matador Records released a repackaged edition of Exile in Guyville called Girly-Sound to Guyville which included remastered versions of all three Girly-Sound tapes.[9] At the same time, the tapes themselves were separately released digitally under the title The Girly-Sound Tapes.[10] This release omitted "Fuck or Die" and "Shatter" due to sample clearance issues[11].

Critical reaction[edit]

AllMusic rated the demos 4.5/5, noting some weak tracks but finding others "as tuneful and provoking as anything on her official albums".[1]

Three tape track listing[edit]

Yo Yo Buddy Yup Yup Word to Ya Muthuh[edit]

All tracks written by Liz Phair, unless otherwise noted.

Side A
1."White Babies"3:06
3."Six Dick Pimp"3:19
4."Divorce Song"3:47
5."Go West"3:23
6."Don't Hold Your Breath" (Stylized as "Dn'tholdyrbreath")3:59
7."Johnny Sunshine"3:51
Side B
1."Miss Lucy" 2:18
2."Elvis Song" 4:56
3."Dead Shark" 3:24
4."One Less Thing" 4:38
5."Money" 3:36
6."In Love With Yourself" (Stylized as "In Love W/Yself") 3:58
7."Fuck or Die"Phair, Johnny Cash3:20


All tracks written by Liz Phair, unless otherwise noted.

Side A
1."Hello Sailor"Phair, George Harry Sanders, Clarence Kelley5:57
2."Wild Thing"Phair, Chip Taylor3:41
3."Fuck and Run" 4:31
4."Easy Target"Phair, Berry Gordy, Jr., Rudy Clark5:04
5."Soap Star Joe" 3:24
6."Ant in Alaska" 7:11
7."Girls! Girls! Girls!" (Stylized as "GIRLSGIRLSGIRLS") 6:56
Side B
1."Polyester Bride" 7:39
2."Thrax" 4:35
3."Miss Mary Mack" 4:32
4."Clean" 3:59
5."Love Song" 6:20
6."Valentine" 4:15
7."Shatter"Phair, Jagger/Richards, Carl Perkins6:51


Track order was obtained from the 2018 Girly-Sound to Guyville release.

All tracks written by Liz Phair, unless otherwise noted.

Side A
1."Gigolo" 3:25
2."Flower" 2:48
3."Batmobile" 3:10
4."Slave"Phair, Jim Reid, William Reid3:50
5."Open Season" 2:59
6."Whip-Smart[12]"Phair, Malcolm McLaren3:30
Side B
3."South Dakota"4:21

Re-recorded songs[edit]

Year Album Song
1991 Chinny Chin Chin: 4 N.Y. Bands "White Babies"
1993 Exile in Guyville
"Divorce Song"
"Johnny Sunshine"
"Wild Thing"
"Fuck and Run"
"Soap Star Joe"
"Ant in Alaska"
"Girls! Girls! Girls!"
"Clean" (as "Never Said")
"Bomb" (as "Stratford-on-Guy")
1994 Whip-Smart "Shane"
"Go West"
"Thrax" (as "Jealousy")
1996 Brain Candy Soundtrack "Six Dick Pimp"
1998 whitechocolatespaceegg "Money" (as "Shitloads of Money")
"Polyester Bride"
"Thrax" (as "Tell Me You Like Me")
2005 Somebody's Miracle "Gigolo" (as "Can't Get Out of What I'm Into")
  • "Ant in Alaska" and "Wild Thing" were both re-recorded for Exile in Guyville, but did not appear until the 2008 reissue. The latter only appeared on the advanced promotional copy of the reissue.
  • "Thrax" was partially re-recorded as "Jealousy" and included on Whip-Smart.
  • "Gigolo" was re-recorded as "Can't Get Out of What I'm Into" for Somebody's Miracle, but was only included on the Japanese release and advanced promotional copy.

Song Appearances[edit]

Year Album Song
1995 Juvenilia "California"
"South Dakota"
"Dead Shark"
1997 Chasing Amy Soundtrack "California"
2010 Funstyle (bonus disc) "Miss Mary Mack"
"White Babies"
"Elvis Song"
"Speed Racer"
"In Love With Yourself"
"Wild Thing"
"Love Song"
"Don't Hold Your Breath"
  • 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.


  1. ^ a b c "Liz Phair - Girlysound". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Liz Phair: Exile in Guyville", Spin, 15:9 (Sept 1999) p125
  3. ^ a b Reilly, Dan (Sep 8, 2010). "Liz Phair Releasing Rare Girly Sound Demos With 'Funstyle' LP". Spinner.
  4. ^ a b c Dunn J. That girl. (cover story). Rolling Stone. October 6, 1994;(692):42
  5. ^ a b Breihan, Tom (September 7, 2010). "Liz Phair Finally Releases Girlysound Tapes". Pitchfork.
  6. ^ Buckley, Peter, Rough Guide To Rock, p786
  7. ^ 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 Culture. 14: 45–71.
  8. ^ "Phair Signs To ATO, 'Guyville' Reissue Due". Billboard. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b c d

External links[edit]