Track-by-Track: Inside GIRL SKIN’s Timeless & Beautiful Debut Album ‘Shade is on the other side’

Shade is on the other side - GIRL SKIN

Mitch's Take

Sid Simons takes us track-by-track through GIRL SKIN’s debut album ‘Shade is on the other side,’ a stunning introduction full of beautiful folk rock textures, timeless vulnerability, and stirring sentiments that fill the heart with joy and the soul with light.
for fans of The Rolling Stones, Mt. Joy, Wilco, The Beatles
Stream: “Forever & Always” – GIRL SKIN

Brooklyn’s GIRL SKIN waste no time with their debut album, seducing listeners within the first minute of their opening song. A somber violin croons over a warm acoustic guitar, and frontman Sid Simons waxes poetic with declarations of love and humility. No sooner have the band’s vocal harmonies washed over Simons’ emotive chanting, than do we, the listeners, feel a tug on our own heartstrings – and just like that, another band cements their place in 2020’s musical highlight reel.

Released April 17 via Jullian Records, GIRL SKIN’s Shade is on the other side proves a stunning introduction full of beautiful folk rock textures, timeless vulnerability, and stirring sentiments that fill the heart with joy and the soul with light. It’s the kind of album that transports you out of the everyday, bringing its audience on a journey through lush pastures and green meadows where tranquility ripples through the air in serene waves of connection, familiarity, and camaraderie.

Shade is on the other side - GIRL SKIN
Shade is on the other side – GIRL SKIN
Love is lost and love is found
It’s right there just look around
If there was time that i could borrow
Here today and gone tomorrow
I’ll never let your love go
I hope you know
I’ll never let our love fade
that’s the promise i made
Forever & Always
I used to think that love was blind
maybe true i just don’t mind
there’s no road for us to follow
lay your head down in this hollow
– “Forever & Always,” GIRL SKIN

We’ve never met GIRL SKIN’s Brooklyn-based frontman and principle songwriter Sid Simons, but the way he sings across the band’s record, it feels as if we’ve known him our whole lives. Rounded out by his brother Stanley Simons (bass), Ruby Wang (violin), Wyatt Mones (lead guitar), Sophie Cozine (keys/harmonies), and Noah Boling (drums), GIRL SKIN deliver their music with the kind of genuine sincerity and authenticity that most often comes from artists’ stripped-down acoustic performances – yet in this instance, the lyrics are completely unassuming and the music is naturally raw.

GIRL SKIN © Cognito-X
GIRL SKIN © Cognito-X

“I wanted these songs to give listeners a layered experience,” Simons shares. “There’s the first intuitive reaction which I wanted to be joyful and optimistic. But then, as they listened further, other emotions would come to the fore: Darker, more complex emotions that give the songs breadth and depth. And I’m excited by the different interpretations people are having to the same song, some feeling the darker shades, others feeling the lighter ones.”

A young twenty-something troubadour with a colorful, “unorthodox” history that took him through Portland, Australia, Shanghai, and New York, Simons’ take on the folk rock sound is one that sounds distinctly American, but not from any one time or any distinguished place. GIRL SKIN come from everywhere and nowhere, their sound blending the artsy “classic” pop flourishes of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones with the homegrown grit of Mt. Joy, the wholeheartedness of Wilco, and the earthiness of bands like Fleet Foxes and First Aid Kit.

Songs like the heart-on-sleeve opener “Forever & Always,” the hypnotic rockers “Soft Gun” and “She Said,” the emotional outpouring “Darling,” and the hauntingly stripped-down “Star” present the range of styles, sounds, and sentiments presented in GIRL SKIN’s debut. At times Simons is as overwhelmingly bare as John Lennon in the latter’s final recordings; the album’s closer “The Last Ever Song” certainly provides us with that acute sense of acceptance and finality. Yet elsewhere, GIRL SKIN feels like a true family affair, where everyone’s individual light shines: Whether it’s Ruby Wang’s gorgeous violin work on “Night Time,” Noah Boling’s minimalist, Velvet Underground-esque percussion in “You’re a Freak,” Stanley Simons’ pulsing bass work in “She Said,” or the immediate and emphatic group harmonies pushing and pulling across “Holy Fool,” Shade is on the other side continuously shines with nuance, care, and unexpected surprises.

All told, Shade is on the other side is a truly timeless effort that speaks not to the present day, but to all days: Its evergreen emotions and universal experiences will feel cozy and familiar long after today.

I know who you are, your love, a star
shooting light there you go, wave goodbye, say hello
But you know, that you’re so beautiful
you better know, that you’re so beautiful, to us 
Don’t cry my dear, it’s a big world, lots to fear 
wipe your eyes, wipe your tear, go out and get it 
we’ll always be here 
You’re so beautiful,
you better know,
that you’re so beautiful, to us
– “Star,” GIRL SKIN

Such is the beauty of this great album – a moving collection that captures a young band already weighed down by the world, but nevertheless full of hope and possibility. Sweet and bittersweet all at once, GIRL SKIN’s songs are ready to be heard and felt by all. Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside GIRL SKIN’s Shade is on the other side with Atwood Magazine as frontman Sid Simons goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of the band’s debut album!

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:: stream/purchase ‘shade…‘ here ::
Stream: ‘Shade is on the other side’ – GIRL SKIN

:: Inside Shade is on the other side ::

Shade is on the other side - GIRL SKIN

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Forever & Always 

It’s a love song, simple as that. Not walking away from something because it’s hard but staying because it’s worth it. It’s also pretty much make-up sex in the form of a song.


My girlfriend is older than me, and in the early days of our relationship, it seemed like a problem. The only way I could think to tell her it wasn’t an issue was to write her a song. She’s my Darling.

Bite Real Hard

So when I was 18, I was so fed up with school that one day I just walked out, got in my Chevy Astro van and started driving. I ended up driving all around America. It was about two months on the road, and about halfway through that trip, that I got a call about my uncle who had given me my first lessons on the guitar. He became sick with cancer, so later that night I wrote a song for him. It’s my song of respect, hope and an offer of strength to an important person in my life.

Soft Gun

You can’t make someone who doesn’t love you, love you. Yet, we all know someone who’s giving it a try. It’s a song about two people stuck in a mismatched love affair going nowhere.

The Path 

It’s a song about loyalty, friendship and drugs, and the impact drugs can have on your friendship or relationship. And the choices that are made because of them. The Path that you chose.

Night Time

I have insomnia, and basically the only way I can get to myself to sleep is if I listen to music. So I wrote and recorded this tune to listen to, to help me fall asleep. A little lullaby for myself.

You’re a Freak

This song is a celebration for all the beautiful freaks and the gorgeous outsiders.

Holy Fool

A song about a little town called LA.

She Said 

It’s about picking yourself back up even when everything around you feels like it’s crumbling and going to shit.


It’s not really a song I can interpret or explain, it’s more of a feeling.

The Last Ever Song

It was written not long after Trump got elected. I was really interested in how one group of people saw his self-belief and absolute certainty in his own opinion as a sign of strength, and another group saw it as a demonstration of his weakness. I guess this song is asking whether those points of view can ever be reconciled.

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:: stream/purchase ‘shade…‘ here ::

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Shade is on the other side - GIRL SKIN

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Shade is on the other side

an album by GIRL SKIN

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