Girls Names is a four-piece band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Formed in 2009 as a two-piece by singer/guitarist and songwriter Cathal Cully and drummer Neil Brogan, Claire Miskimmin joined on bass the following year and Charles Hurts guitarist Philip Quinn was added to the line-up in 2012. Neil Brogan departed the band in 2013 and was replaced by current drummer Gib Cassidy. The band has released three albums, 2011's Dead To Me, 2013's The New Life, on Tough Love Records in Europe and Slumberland Records in the US, and 2015's 'Arms Around a Vision' on Tough Love Records, as well as several EPs, singles and split singles on labels such as Captured Tracks and CF Records.
Cathal Cully and Neil Brogan became friends in 2008 and, in January 2009, Camlough native Cully agreed to create a band to support US surf pop band Wavves at a show in Belfast venue Laverys Bunker the following month, despite never having been in a band himself. He asked Brogan, from Bangor, to join him for the show as drummer, meaning Brogan had to learn to play the drums for the performance. The duo recorded a number of cassette-only demo releases which they put out through Cass/Flick Records (later renamed CF Records), a label founded by Brogan in 2006. In June of that year, they recorded a demo of the song "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" and contacted the Brooklyn-based indie label Captured Tracks. The label's founder, Mike Sniper, was impressed with the track and said he would be willing to release a record for them if they had more songs. They returned to him in November with 11 tracks, resulting in the release of Girls Names EP in April 2010. In the weeks before the EP's release, Cully and Brogan recruited Claire Miskimmin as bassist with the band, and Cully has claimed he had to teach Miskimmin to play the instrument before she could join them on tour.
Girls Names released a split single with San Diego quintet Heavy Hawaii in April 2010 and the eight-song mini-album You Should Know By Now in May, on British indie label Tough Love, featuring songs recorded before those that appeared on Girls Names EP. Between June and October 2010, the trio recorded their debut album at Belfast's Start Together Studios. One of the album's tracks, "I Lose", was released on a split 7-inch single with Brilliant Colors in November 2010 - the Girls Names song written in response to the all-female San Francisco trio's flip-side track "You Win". The limited edition single was released on Slumberland Records in the US and Tough Love in Europe. The 11-track album, Dead To Me, was released on the same labels in April 2011, and received an average score of 75% on review aggregating website Metacritic, indicating "generally favorable reviews". However, by the time of the album's release, the band was claiming that they had a new album ready to record and had already changed their style of music. They released a download-only single, "Black Saturday", in October 2011.
In early 2012, local musician Philip Quinn, who also performs with the band Charles Hurts, was added to the line-up as guitarist and keyboardist, playing his first show with the band on 29 March in Belfast's Mandela Hall, by which stage the band was only playing one song from Dead To Me in their set. In July 2012, they released the song "A Troubled See" on a split 7-inch single with London band Weird Dreams and October saw the release of "The New Life", the first single and title track from the band's forthcoming second album, with both new songs showcasing a shift in direction from the looser noise-pop of their earlier releases towards a krautrock, motorik-influenced sound and longer song lengths. "Hypnotic Regression", the second single from The New Life, was released as a download-only single in December. The album was released on 18 February 2013. Prior to a European tour to promote The New Life, the band announced Brogan would be taking some time off from Girls Names and would be replaced for the tour by Gib Cassidy of Dublin-based group Logikparty. Brogan later announced his full departure from the band and permanent replacement by Cassidy via the band's Facebook page on 30 July 2013.
Brogan performs his own material as Sea Pinks, singing and playing guitar and frequently enlisting Cully and Miskimmin, on bass and drums respectively, for live shows. Since late 2012, the members of Charles Hurts have played as Brogan's backing band. Sea Pinks has released four albums (Youth Is Wasted in September 2010, Dead Seas in September 2011, Freak Waves in September 2012 and Dreaming Tracks in September 2014). Brogan describes Sea Pinks' style as having "substituted Girls Names' shades of grey for a sunnier disposition and more stripped-down sound". He also runs the Belfast-based indie label CF Records (formerly known as Cass/Flick and Caff/Flick), which put out the first Girls Names releases as well as recordings by Cloud Nothings, Mount Eerie, High Places, Lucky Dragons, Thread Pulls, No Monster Club and Patrick Kelleher.
Quinn also performs in Charles Hurts, initially a solo project but now including Steven Henry on bass and Davey Agnew on drums. Charles Hurts has released two EPs on CF Records.
The members of Girls Names all frequently perform with Belfast psychedelic drone pop band Documenta, fronted by songwriter Joe Greene.