While growing up in a cult that forbids outside music, film, art, and most other things would seem like an unlikely starting place for a pop singer, it worked out all right for Girls' Christopher Owens. Owens was born into the Children of God cult, the same one that birthed actress Rose McGowan and was home to young River, Joaquin, Summer, and Rain Phoenix. Owens was able to escape the repressive cult as a teen, flying from Slovenia (where the cult was then based) to live with his sister in Amarillo, Texas. After a few more stops, Owens moved to San Francisco and began playing with Chet "JR" White, and Girls was formed.

While Owens didn't plan for Girls to be successful, they quickly began building a buzz around San Francisco with their energetic live shows and infectious, golden melodies. They released their debut, Album, on September 22, 2009 on True Panther Sounds. The album was a runaway success and was widely praised by critics and young fans alike. It was voted the fifth best album of 2009 by Spin Magazine. While the album's first two singles, "Lust for Life" and "Hellhole Ratrace," were popular indie tracks, the strength of the album lies in the group's consistently intriguing, versatile songwriting and Owens' recognizable, emotive vocals. They are also known for their whimsical, lo-fi videos that look like home movies.