Hit Like a Girl is the musical extension of Maroulis’ nonprofit, No More Dysphoria, which was founded to help transgender individuals pay for aspects of their transition. At live shows, the band opts to sell No More Dysphoria’s official T-shirts instead of their own. All proceeds go to the organization.
Though You Make Sense, the project’s 2017 debut LP, was recorded before Maroulis was able to pull a full band together, the album still feels like the product of a well-oiled Pop Punk machine. Tracks like “If I Could Erase You” and “The Song I Hoped You’d Never Hear” call back the muted moodiness of early aughts Indie Rock (think Say Hi to Your Mom or The Shins), while sneaking in the math-y riffs that are all but obligatory when you’re working within Bandcamp’s Emo scene. Maroulis’ lyrics sketch out portraits of young-adult-novel romances, while the guitars populate the background with watercolor paintings of autumn foliage.
Hit Like a Girl’s songwriting resembles a string of confessional text messages set to music. Maroulis culls their inspiration from particularly vulnerable moments, and many of the record’s hardest-hitting moments take the form of questions that are more comfortably unanswered: “What is it about us that you don’t see?”; “Will that work for you?”; “Do you remember me from time to time?”
Embarking on a tour that includes a debut South By Southwest appearance, Hit Like a Girl has upgraded from a solo acoustic act to a quartet. If the promo video the band posted on Facebook in January (as well as this more recent one) is any indication of what its live set sounds like, expect a more anthemic and immersive take on You Make Sense’s material, complete with the occasional flourish of synth strings.