“I think that when we came together as a band, we realized that all three of us had something to say and something to express through the music,” Mahon said over the phone from New York. “It just made sense to make Grass Widow a project where that could happen equally.”
Sharing the work, not to mention the glory, might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not always the norm. There’s a reason so many bands have a dominant voice; sometimes unilateral decisions are just more efficient.
“It’s been one of the most complex relationships of my life,” Maring said from her home in San Francisco. “[It’s] like being married to two women and doing everything together and putting that first. We basically live together for half of the year — in a car and in our crappy practice space.”
The women tackle inevitable disagreements with a constant dialogue. (“We’re overly communicative together,” Lew said with a laugh). And with so many words volleying back and forth, the group has found something that inseparable siblings might recognize — a common dialect that outsiders find esoteric. That idea of an idioglossia explains the name of the trio’s most recent album, “Internal Logic,” which is its third overall and the first full-length release on its own label, HLR.
“We’re really close and we’ve definitely been through a lot together,” Lew said. “We just kind of have our own language amongst us that comes out of that.”
Some of the group’s heavier memories during the past five years provided material for 2010 album, “Past Time.” Songwriting became therapy for Lew, who had lost her father, and Maring, whose boyfriend had cancer.
But the band found that catharsis can turn extreme. After touring the country, Europe and China, singing their sorrow night after night, the musicians opted to change course for “Internal Logic.”
“We were thinking, ‘Well, we’re going to tour this a lot, inevitably. Let’s make these songs as enjoyable to play as possible and just write lyrics that we want to sing to ourselves and to each other every night,’ ” Maring said. “So really positive affirmations.”
The album is defined by songs such as “Milo Minute” and “Whistling in the Dark” which are upbeat and playful, veering from lilting, minimalist indie-pop to the controlled chaos of screechy electric guitar freakouts. Meanwhile, “A Light in the Static” is a straightforward instrumental Spanish guitar track that keeps the mood serene.