April 1, 2016, sees the release of 'Welcome The Worms,' the ambitious new rock album by Los Angeles-based Bleached. While keeping the band's origin of cheeky, California-punk in the forefront, 'Welcome The Worms' is a smarter, heavier, emotionally deeper Bleached.
Sisters Jennifer (vocals, guitar) and Jessie Clavin (guitar, bass) knew things were going to be different for their sophomore album -- not only had they managed to charm world-renowned producer and engineer Joe Chiccarelli (Morrissey, The Strokes, Elton John) and co-producer Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, YACHT) to join them and their bassist Micayla Grace in the studio, but Jen and Jessie had been crawling out of their own personal dramas. Jessie was evicted from her house and scrambling, while Jen ended a torrid, unhealthy romance. While emotionally spinning, she dove head first into music.
"I was a loose canon," the commanding front woman says. "I was losing serious control of my personal and creative life. I was falling apart, trying to escape. I felt like Bleached was the only thing I actually cared about."
Throughout the record, Bleached paints a frivolous picture of Los Angeles: the life of eye¬-rolling caused by dating men in bands, dirty Sunset Boulevard and futile drunken nights in a starstruck hole that made everyone from Charles Manson to Darby Crash to Marilyn Monroe stare up at the Hollywood sign for direction. Although a typical theme of ruined romance floats through the album, the real power is in Jen figuring out herself through lyrics so straight, identifiable and honest, a first for the girl who safely hid behind a cheeky misdemeanor.
"We don't want perfection because it's boring," Jen declares. "We want to make music that's as real as life."
Perfectly imperfect – that's one way to describe LA based punk act, The Regrettes. Writing songs that proudly bear a brazen and unabashed attitude in the vein of acts Courtney Barnett or Karen O – with a pop aesthetic reminiscent of 50's and 60's acts a la the Temptations or Buddy Holly – the LA based four piece create infectious, punk driven tracks.
Lead by outspoken frontwoman, Lydia Night, and comprised of Genessa Gariano on guitar, Sage Nicole on bass and drummer Maxx Morando, the group have left the LA rock scene floored, managing to capture the hearts of jaded rock critics while opening for acts like Kate Nash, Jack Off Jill, Bleached, Pins, Deep Vally and more. With nothing but demos available online, the group are already beginning to generate hype, from outlets like NPR, and with NYLON already heralding them them as a "punk act you should be listening to".
From the opening moments on a track by The Regrettes, we're greeted with a wall of guitars, infectious melodies and a wistful nostalgia that continues right until the final notes. Taking cues from acts like Hinds and Hole, there's a wistful sense of youth and vulnerability that lies at the heart of each song.
A song by The Regrettes is, essentially, a diary entry into Lydia's life. "My music is a spectrum of every emotion that I have felt in the last year, and you can hear that when you hear the songs. Everything that is happening in my life influences me. It's everything from boys, to friends, to being pissed off at people, to being really sad. Just everything."
The most intoxicating draw of The Regrettes is their bashful, heart-on-your-sleeve temperament – writing urgent and fast-paced pop songs with a punk rock mentality. "The way that we write, it's all based on honesty," muses Lydia on the group's punk aesthetic. "If I finish a song, I'll just leave it – I won't really go back to it. I like things to feel in the moment and I don't want it to be perfect. If I work on something too much I lose it and get bored and I want to do the next one.."
First song, "A Living Human Girl," best showcases the vulnerability of the group's lyrics. Singing about a less than perfect complexion, a bra size that is considered smaller than most, and those little red bumps you get when you shave, The Regrettes aren't afraid to embrace their imperfections. "Sometimes I'm pretty and sometimes I'm not", sings Lydia over 60's inspired guitar riffs and a kicked back drum beat. "I don't remember exactly what sparked it, but I remember when I wrote those lyrics, I was just really angry."
"There are times when you feel really insecure and you really don't like yourself, so I wrote it for people who feel that and I wrote it for myself. I just felt like there wasn't a song like that out there. A song that if I was feeling super shitty about myself, that I could listen to. I wanted something that would make girls and boys feel confident," she explains.
Lydia's not afraid to have her feelings on display. "I am not scared of anyone judging me, I don't care. I don't give a fuck if someone doesn't like what I have to say. For every person that likes you, there's a person that doesn't like you. No matter what, if people can relate to the music then it's worth it. That's what is cool for me." And at the end of the day, isn't that what punk music is all about?
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.
The Side Eyes
Female fronted punk music from Southern California.
Vocals- Astrid McDonald
Bass- Chris Devine
Drums- Nick Arnold
Guitar- Kevin Devine
No Parents (DJ)
Los Angeles based punk band