Brooklyn bubble-grunge four-piece Charly Bliss combine irrepressible pop sensibility with raw, punchy guitars. Eva Hendricks, the band's charismatic singer jumps and kicks her way around the stage "as though she were the result of a laboratory fusion of Eddie Vedder and a punk-rock cheerleader" (The A.V. Club). The band's songs have infectious, powerful melodies, displaying a supernatural knack for pop hooks.
Eva and guitarist/vocalist Spencer Fox met at NYC's Webster Hall when they were 15, and soon began writing songs together over AOL Instant Messenger. They were later joined by drummer Sam Hendricks (Eva's older brother) and bassist Dan Shure, and went on to release a three-song EP called Soft Serve along with an accompanying video and comic book trilogy.
The band turns heads everywhere they go and have spent the past year refining their live show on the road opening for Veruca Salt, Sleater-Kinney, Tokyo Police Club, Glass Animals, and Darwin Deez. Watching the band's infectious, fun-packed show is "like ripping off the wrapping of a present on Christmas Day" (Pancakes and Whiskey). Simply put: Charly Bliss is "one of those bands where you either like them or you're wrong" (Upset Magazine).
For the past few years, Ali Koehler has been best known as the drummer of the pop group Best Coast and the noisy girl punk trio Vivian Girls. After her departure from Best Coast, Koehler decided to step up from behind the kit to front a band of her own, embracing her melodic punk-spirited songwriting impulses with Upset. Joined by Patty Schemel (of Hole) on drums and Jennifer Prince on lead guitar and vocals, Upsetwill release its massively hooky debut record, She's Gone, this fall.
With 12 songs in just under 30 minutes, it's a pop-punk album that immediately sounds classic, full of unshakeable hooks and the sincerest of shouts. It is fitting that She's Gone will see a release with Don Giovanni Records; the record could easily fit in the record collections of Ergs or Lemuria fans. She's Gone was recorded primarily at Koehler's house in April of 2013 by Kyle Gilbride of Swearin'.
As a songwriter, Koehler draws on the snarky angst and punk simplicity of her previous bands, with a delivery that masks angry and cheeky lyrics with a sweet-sung and wide-eyed infliction. She's Gone opens with "Back To School," conveying that sense of first-day anxieties and uncertainty that comes with a return to an old routine. "First day back's a heart attack," Koehler sings. It's an intro to the sort of personal and relatable lyrics she sings throughout, full of anxious introspection. "Game Over" (written and sung by Jenn Prince) is bored and angsty, channeling distant vox and 90s-indebted noise-pop guitars; "Never Wanna" is an urgent and impatient earworm. "I just don't know what to do / I can't stop thinking of you," Koehler sings.
"Queen Frosteen" uses childlike, upbeat rhymes and a sticky chorus to set up her indictment of a friendship gone wrong. "When she sets the scene / it's a sugarcoated fantasy," she sings, in a way that's so overly sugar-sweet, it almost sounds sarcastic. "Queen Frosteen, my enemy / she's everything and I'm nobody / Queen Frosteen, my enemy." The closing track sounds similarly burned and pissed about it. "This was a lesson learned / this is goodbye," the band sings, girl-gang style. "That's not what friends are for."
She's Gone has moments of self-doubt and resonant angst ("I can't remember feeling worse than this," Koehler sings on "Oxfords and Wingtips") but it has a sense of humor about it as well; "About Me" even starts with a giggle. It's a sort of record that's not afraid to have sincere open-book, downer moments, but doesn't take itself too seriously.
French Vanilla is a feminist art-punk band based in Los Angeles consisting of Max Albeck (drums), Ali Day (guitar/bass), Sally Spitz (vocals), and Daniel Trautfield (bass/sax). FV regulates the dance floor with vocal freneticism, punchy basslines, and dramatic sax. Half-driven by a desire to challenge the established SoCal music scene, dominated by a few influential (male) tastemakers, and half by a desire to engage with friends, FV started in LA’s queer punk underground. Influenced by generations of feminist punks before them, the band believes in the supremely generative nature of women’s and/or BFF’s collaborating and they hope to spread this message until all dude-rock bands cease to exist. More than anything, FV wants you to have fun at their shows so they deliver performances with infectious energy and enthusiasm. Catch them playing at DIY spaces like Pehrspace and COOLWORLD PARTY LA, weird bars, or at Part-Time Punks. Say hi, they want to hang.