ALBUM: The Linda Lindas – ‘Growing Up’

Performing at the Los Angeles Public Library last year, Mila de la Garza, drummer for LA-based Asian/Latinx punks The Linda Lindas, explained that their most aggressive song on the setlist, ‘Racist, Sexist Boy’, was written after a negative classroom experience. “A boy in my class came up to me and said that his dad told him to stay away from Chinese people. After I told him that I was Chinese, he backed away from me.” Changing the polarity in a 1-2-3-4 count, The Linda Lindas slam all racist, sexist jerkfaces hard with crushing riot grrrl rhythm and positive affirmation. “We rebuild what you destroy!”

It was a defining moment for the band that caught the attention of the legendary Epitaph Records. Known for working with punk heavyweights like Bad Religion (featuring guitarist and Epitaph co-founder Brett Gurewitz), Refused and The Offspring, Epitaph seemed like a no brainer to release The Linda Lindas’ debut LP, Growing Up; a collection of effortlessly cool and catchy feel-good punk.

Taking their name from the Japanese film Linda Linda Linda – a coming-of-age comedy featuring a group of teenagers who quickly form a band to cover songs by The Blue Hearts – Mila (current age 11), alongside guitarists Lucia de la Garza (14), Bela Salazar (17), and bassist Eloise Wong (13) formed the punk quartet after joining Kristin Kontrol for a one-off performance at Girlschool (later Gxrlschool) in 2018. As The Linda Lindas, they opened for riot grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill just a year later at the Hollywood Palladium – later covering their song ‘Rebel Girl’ in Amy Poehler’s 2021 feminist flick MOXiE! for Netflix – before self-releasing their self-titled EP in 2020. So far, so DIY, so punk!

Growing Up – produced, engineered and mixed by Mila and Lucia’s father, Carlos de la Garza (ex- Suburban Rhythm, Reel Big Fish drummer) – is not a cliché album title. “We’ll sing to people and show / What it means to be young and growing up,” sings Lucia on the title track, a celebration of friendship and the determination to “make every moment last.” For the ferocious ‘Oh!’, the band tap into the pop sensibilities of The Go-Go’s with an infectious bassline, dynamic rhythm, snarling lead vocals from Bela, and self-reflective lyrics written by Eloise: “Why do I say something / Say anything at all (Oh!) / It seems that when I try / I always take the fall (Oh!) / But when I don’t speak up / There’s nothing but regret (Oh!) / I can’t stop thinking of / What could’ve happened next!”

Wise beyond her age insight from Mila features on the bubblegum flavoured ‘Talking To Myself’ (“We’re all talking to ourselves / About things we cannot help…”) whilst Eloise spits lyrical angst on riot grrrl rager ‘Fine’. (“It’s not fine!”) ‘Nino’ follows as a spiritual successor to ‘Monica’, a track from the band’s self-titled extended play, written about Bela’s cat! Similar to the unconventional lyrics of Shonen Knife, Bela sings “I have a cat / His name’s Nino / He’s a savage cat / Killer of mice and rats” over savage pop-punk riffs before Eloise returns with the heartbreakingly heavy, Jawbreaker-esque ‘Why’. “I just drown out everything / Cause I cannot feel this way.”

Taking inspiration from Latin culture and bossa nova beats, Spanish-language ‘Cuántas Veces’ is for the misfits; a deeply personal song from Bela. “Cuántas veces tengo que decir / Ya estoy harta de sentirme asi.” Whilst ‘Remember’ – an outpouring of frustration – leaves Lucia optimistic that “maybe tomorrow will be bigger, brighter, bolder.” Sharing vocal duties for the deceptively whimsical ‘Magic’, the de la Garza sisters trade verses over shimmering guitar hooks before the band closes their electrifying debut with a cathartic studio recording of their aforementioned anti-hate anthem, ‘Racist, Sexist Boy’.

All killer, no filler, each member of The Linda Lindas has brought their own unique style of songwriting to Growing Up, through self-reflection and social awareness. They are a band growing up both musically and personally – developing their identity and DIY ethos together, one punk song at a time – yet already confidently stage-diving into punk rock history.

Follow The Linda Lindas on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Zac Farro

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

LISTEN: THICK – ‘Mansplain’

A cathartic, witty, guitar driven take-down of the men who undermine women in bands (and women in general), Brooklyn punk trio THICK have shared their latest track, ‘Mansplain’. Lifted from their debut album 5 Years Behind, which is set for release on 6th March via Epitaph, the single’s premise will resonate with women and girls who have struggled to be taken seriously on, and off stage.

The track opens with a plethora of snarky comments – “Girl bands are really in right now”, “Does she know where to plug that in?”, “Are those your boyfriend’s drums?” – before the single rips into life with crashing drums, cutting vocals, and riotous riffs. “Those are all things that men have actually said to us or our friends at shows,” drummer Shari Page explains. “A lot of these songs came from feeling stifled in silence, but then the song itself is an answer to that,” adds bassist Kate Black. “It’s us saying, ‘I have my opinion, and I’m going to share it no matter what.’ Instead of keeping things all bottled up, it feels so much better to face everything head on, and just be really loud about it with your two best friends.”

THICK have crafted the perfect track to crank up the volume to, and rid yourself of the unnecessary negativity on ‘Mansplain’. The band took this ethos of doing what feels right into the studio with them whilst recording their new album at Studio G in Brooklyn, with producer/engineer Joel Hamilton (Iggy Pop, Jolie Holland). “It was really important to us that the songs feel emotionally connected to our reality, so that it feels as natural as possible to play them” Black shares. They’ve clearly achieved this on ‘Mansplain’, which is accompanied by a humourous video directed and produced by Jeanette D. Moses.

Watch the video for ‘Mansplain’ below and follow THICK on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Michelle Lobianco

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Ariel View – ‘Friday Nights’

Newly signed to Epitaph records, Ariel View walk the line between scuffed indie rock and adorable pop attitude on this classic slice of melodic guitar rock. While ‘Friday Nights’ is definitely the kind of care-free sounding, summery, irresistibly loveable song that you can totally lose your shit to at a live show, it’s actually a song about heartbreak according to Ariel View’s singer, Harmonie Martinez, who wrote the song following a relationship breakup.

This might explain why the song feels so heartfelt and impassioned, with the emotion of the vocal balancing nicely with the song’s strong chorus and tight guitar sound. The band make it sound easy and it’s clear that Epitaph were on to something when they signed them, as there’s a sophistication and maturity of sound here that suggests Ariel View could become very big indeed.

‘Friday Nights’ is out now.

Cazz Blase
@CazzBlase