Aside from the in-unit washer/dryer (I’m jealous), the Brooklyn two-bedroom Horsegirl guitarist and vocalist Nora Cheng shares with drummer Gigi Reece’s brother is like many first NYC apartments. It's sparsely furnished, waiting to be lived in, and full of potential. The light is low as the common area has no windows, indicative of a landlord slicing and dicing the units in an old building to collect more rent. Nora, who left her parent’s house in Chicago a year ago, settles down next to Gigi, who sits crossed-legged on a vintage floral sofa. We're waiting for guitarist/vocalist Penelope Lowenstein to wrap up her day as a freshman at NYU, where Nora is also a sophomore (Gigi eschewed college and works as a nanny). Nora’s fluffy gray cat Ramona rubs up against my legs as I sit at their kitchen table. Both musicians are wearing an indie rock uniform of sweaters, workwear pants, and wooly socks. They eat Triscuits straight from the box and discuss their costumes for a First Communion-themed birthday party they’ll attend that evening, which feels very on the nose for a trio of 20-or-so Brooklynites, given the recent proliferation of Catholicism as hip iconography for the Dimes Square set.

Horsegirl pose in their apartment.
Look, you don’t ask the Feelies to throw on a fucking leather jacket. Do not ask us.

And now, for the disclosure: according to Spotify, I was in the top .05 percent of Horsegirl listeners in 2022. Our algorithmic overlords let me know we “spent 1,915 minutes together,” which translates to 31 hours. I suppose this makes me qualified to spend a few hours with them on a rainy Friday afternoon in Brooklyn, discussing their uniquely big year. The Chicago trio officially relocated to New York City on the heels of their high school graduations—or, rather, reunited—Nora and Gigi graduated and made the move a year ahead of Penelope. This is not unique in and of itself. A lot of folks move to NYC after school to see if they can “make it,” but what if you already have?

Horsegirl's debut full length album Versions of Modern Performance (out on indie mainstay Matador Records) has been a massive break-out success, popping up on several "Best of 2022" lists and garnering the band spots on major festival line-ups and shows at some legendary venues. In October, Horsegirl opened for Pavement at NYC’s famed Kings Theater, something most musicians could only dream of doing. Even they didn’t anticipate how the legacy of the place would affect them. “I didn’t realize how nervous I was until we were onstage doing it," Gigi says. "I was like, oh my gosh, this is horrifying…we have to play the best show of our life.”

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