The Linda Linda tap into the punk potential of youth in “Growing Up”

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Published on April 06, 2022

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The Linda Linda don’t try to hide their youth. They named their debut album Grow, and its title track is a feisty pop-punk anthem celebrating the vigor and camaraderie of kids growing together, making mistakes, and forging character. If this song was the only thing going on, you’d think the Linda Lindas are some kind of Hannah Montana reboot, but they didn’t make a Disney album. The Linda Lindas are crazy as hell, and they’ll tell you why unequivocally.

The Los Angeles-based early punk band is made up of sisters Mila and Lucia de la Garza, an 11-year-old drummer and 14-year-old guitarist, along with their 13-year-old cousin/bassist Eloise Wong and 17-year-old friend Bela Salazar. /guitarist for a year. They all sing and change instruments too. Don’t judge this book by its cover. The Linda Lindas may not have anyone named Linda, but this group means business. Underestimate them at your peril.

Long before Grow, the Linda Linda had paid their dues. After banding together for a one-off set at the LA-area Girlschool Music Festival in 2018, they continued as a band to open for Phranc, the Dils, and Alley Cats, and eventually played with Best Coast, Alice Bag. and Bleached. An opportunity to write a song for the Netflix documentary The Claudia Kishi Club inspired them to start writing their own original music, and soon after they appeared and recorded songs for the soundtrack to Amy Poehler’s feminist coming-of-age film Moxie.

Unfortunately, there is no age limit for being a victim of racism and sexism, and being half Asian and half Latina, these young women have lived with this horrible reality all their lives. Before the pandemic, a classmate of Mila’s made a comment amplifying something racist her father had told her. Demanding Tito Puente’s revenge, the band wrote a song about it called “Racist, Sexist Boy”.

Their timing was perfect. The Linda Lindas went viral in May 2021 with a video rendition of “Racist, Sexist Boy” recorded live at the Los Angeles Public Library. As the video spread, top rockers such as Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) sang its praises, while the legendary label punk Epitaph immediately signed the band.

Beware of runaway rebellion, of course. Avril Lavigne was first marketed as “the anti-Britney” based on looks, but if you compare their music, there’s not much difference beyond genre – an unsurprising observation given that they both employed the same songwriting teams, like Matrix. In this spirit, there are elements of Grow it sounds a little too good to be true. This album was certainly not recorded at the library. There are moments polished to an unreal sheen, but it makes sense when you watch the credits.

Grow was produced, mixed and engineered primarily by Carlos de la Garza at his own Music Friends studio in Los Angeles. In addition to drumming in bands like FYP and Reel Big Fish, Carlos mixed Ziggy Marley’s self-titled, Grammy-winning album and engineered Tegan and Sara’s multi-award-winning effort. Junos in 2013. Hearthrobas well as Wolf Alice’s 2018 Mercury Prize-winning album Visions of a life. He has produced everyone from Paramore, Cherry Glazerr, Best Coast and Bleached, to Epitaph bands such as Bad Religion, HUNNY and Teenage Wrist. It’s a bit of a big deal. He’s also the father of Mila and Lucia, and produced Linda Lindas’ self-titled debut EP from 2020, so they had an easier path to get where they are than someone randomly sending demos to Epitaph. .

That said, spend time with the Linda Lindas, and it’s obvious that they weren’t just given everything. They seized their opportunities. All we have to do is watch them absolutely crush it Jimmy Kimmel Live! to see what’s to come. They have the swagger and the style, and they don’t care if anyone doesn’t like it.

The opening track on Grow, “Oh!” hits the ground running with its retro punk vocals and enthusiastically minimal melodies, sounding like Joan Jett covering the Ramones. His lyrics exude a sense of frustration and futility, calling out the wrongs of society that we feel powerless to change, as well as guilt if we don’t say anything. This sentiment is reflected more broadly in “Talking to Myself”, which invites commiseration by talking about things we can’t help ourselves, and in “Growing Up”, where children talk about things that aren’t right. Talking about things can be therapeutic, just like listening to this album.

Other times are a little cooler. The surfy power-pop harmony of “Nino” lands somewhere between La Luz and Blondie, while lyrically paying homage to a fantastical feline reminiscent of the “Monica” cat jam from their self-titled EP. They even add a little bossa nova flavor on “Cuantas Veces” (“How many times” in Spanish), further demonstrating influences and experience beyond their years.

A studio recording of “Racist, Sexist Boy” ends Grow. It’s as fierce an example of political hardcore as you’ll find this side of Bikini Kill, which they backed at one of their very first shows at the Hollywood Palladium in 2019. This heralds the second coming of riot grrl with a side of kawaii cuddle-core, channeling the fiery rock power of the Runaways, the new wave gloss of the Go-Go’s and the pop-punk exuberance of Blink-182.

With every moment of unwavering social commentary, the Linda Lindas let listeners into the smoldering embers of the youthful promise we all have before the weight of the world finally crushes our spirits. For however wide their appeal may be, their eyes are wider open. The Linda Lindas don’t fire any shots. Judge this book by its cover, and it will judge you right away. The library is open. (Epitaph)

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