ALBUM: THICK – ‘Happy Now’

Raging against the patriarchy by writing about their experiences of being women in what used to feel like a doomed music scene, Brooklyn-based pop punks THICK have forged their own path on their latest album, Happy Now. Filled with thrashy instrumentals and anthemic crowd-pleasers, the band – formed in 2014 and comprised of Nikki Sisti (guitar/vocals), Kate Black (bass/vocals) and Shari Page (drums/vocals) – embrace and further their potential throughout their most recent effort.

Upbeat guitars and energetic vocals characterise this concise yet assertive album, which tackles lighter topics compared to their previous record, 5 Years Behind (2020). The first single from the release, ‘Loser’, is a standout. The trio’s vocals are the defining feature of the song, particularly the fade between the solo yelling verses and the group harmonies in the chorus. Their trademark agro-punk overlaid with emotional honesty is blatant here. The single reclaims the term loser: “In music, it’s so easy to feel like a loser and a f*ck up”, comments drummer and vocalist Page. “We want people to know that it’s okay to mess up and that everyone’s a loser sometimes. It’s really the best way to live”. Page’s sentiment is embodied by the track’s lyrical wit: “I love when people tell me I should quit.”

Hints of the band’s early influences have always lent themselves to their releases. The vibrant introduction to ‘Her Chapstick’ wouldn’t feel out of place on a blink-182 record, while several other tracks feel riot grrrl-infused, especially the Le Tigre-esque ‘I Wish 2016 Never Happened’ and the Sleater-Kinney inspired ‘Your Garden’. The latter is a fast-paced song and the crux of the album, compounding the best of the swirling vocal rounds and roaring guitars that the remaining body of the tracks are dominated by.

‘Happiness’ is the perfect opener. The track is rapid in pace, complete with punk rant choruses and melodic collective verses. ‘Tell Myself’ expresses the group’s musical muscle in a slightly more stripped back way. End track, ‘Something Went Wrong’ is another highlight. Its well-paced bass riff is a moment of shine, which shows THICK are as strong instrumentally as they are lyrically. This finale is buoyant, leaving listeners on an upbeat note.

Ultimately, THICK’s sophomore effort is packed with moments of promise. It expresses viable growth from their debut, feeling less like a laundry list of things they’re exasperated at and more like a cohesive story, all without abandoning the perfect blend of guitar solos and layered vocals the group are celebrated for.

Follow THICK on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

Photo Credit: Jessica Gurewitz

Sarah Bennett
@sarah_benn3tt (Twitter)
@zasbennett (Instagram)

LISTEN: GIHE on Soho Radio with Ailbhe Reddy 27.07.22

Tash and Kate were back on Soho Radio’s airwaves playing loads of new music from some of their favourite female, non-binary and LGBTQIA+ artists, and Mari offered some of her “musical musings” too. They discussed some of the artists nominated for this year’s Mercury Prize (Nova Twins, Wet Leg and Self Esteem) and laughed their way through Kate’s traumatic Ethel Cain-based nightmare.

Irish songwriter Ailbhe Reddy joined them to talk about her latest single ‘A Mess’, her debut album Personal History and her recent appearances at The Great Escape, Latitude and Visions festival. They also spoke about the Avril Lavigne tribute night Ailbhe hosted in Dublin to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Let Go. Listen out for her excellent rendition of the ‘rap’ part in ‘Nobody’s Fool’. #ImNotTheMilkAndCheeriosInYourSpoon

Listen back below:

 

Tracklist
Phoebe Bridgers – Motion Sickness
Yves Tumor – Gospel For a New Century
Miya Folick – Nothing to See
Big Joanie – Happier Still
Ethel Cain – Family Tree (Intro)
Nova Twins – Cleopatra
Brutus – Dust
Real Big Sky – Another Day
The Mars Volta – Blacklight Shine
Lynks – Hey Joe (Relax)
Ailbhe Reddy – A Mess
**Interview with Ailbhe Reddy**
SOAK – Guts
M(h)aol – Bored Of Men
Bad Sidekick – Daily Lottery
Hanya – Amateur Professional
Minerva – Dead
Bonnie Banane – CDA
Muna Ileiwat – Pity Party
Hannah Schneider – It’s The Season
Maria Uzor ft. Emily Winng – Winner
Currls – Honey
Self Esteem – I Do This All The Time
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Spitting off the edge of the world
ARXX – Deep
Fraulein – And I Go (La La La)
Lady Gaga – Stupid Love

ALBUM: Petrol Girls – ‘Baby’

Released today (24th June) via Hassle Records, feminist punks Petrol Girls truly embrace irreverence on their new album, Baby. While time often mellows the sound and vision of many bands, here it has only re-fuelled the band’s politics with an ever-growing potency. The vital themes of pure political rage, speaking out against sexual violence and immigration that underscored Petrol Girls’ 2016 debut, Talk of Violence, are powerfully replicated on Baby.

Whilst the band maintain their feminist punk roots – especially on rallying pro-choice lead single ‘Baby, I Had An Abortion’ – Petrol Girls transcend their musical origins throughout their new record. The album opens with 28 seconds of noise produced from a mash of sounds on the album, acting as a vibrant nod towards shoegaze. Guitarist Joe York was influenced by everything from electronic music and hip-hop, to New Wave bands like Talking Heads during the writing process for the album and the playful intro to ‘One Or The Other’ encapsulates this, with ‘Preachers’ further setting the raw experimental tone for the record.

Vocalist Ren Aldridge continues to deliver her breath-takingly vehement lyrics throughout Baby. Her clear intonation and powerful projection become consistently more impressive with each track, and when the subject matter does get more severe, her cathartic cries and screams provide a much needed emotional release. Activist and DIY punk Janey Starling also delivers superb guest vocals on ‘Fight For Our Lives’ and ‘Violent by Design’, both of which act as visceral moments of furious relief for listeners who have been marching on the streets for equality in the wake of public violence against women in recent years.

While the issues handled on Baby vary in weight, they all ultimately follow themes of femicide, police brutality and toxic “nice guys” (‘Sick & Tired’). The record is a genuine effort to dismantle these pervasive tropes and elements of society, fueled by righteous rage and impressive resilience. Petrol Girls should be proud of their new collection of fast-paced, vital anti-establishment anthems.

Order Petrol Girls’ new album Baby here

Follow Petrol Girls on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Hanna Fasching

Sarah Bennett
@sarah_benn3tt (Twitter)
@zasbennett (Instagram)

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

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