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CD of The Week

Week of 4/18/22

    The Linda Lindas - Growing Up (Epitaph)

    The hype behind The Linda Lindas has been heavy for nearly a year now since the Los Angeles Public Library released a viral video of their empowering and cathartic song “Racist Sexist Boy.” The song was written after 11-year-old drummer Mila de la Garza experienced bigotry in school: people were avoiding her simply for being Chinese during Covid pandemonium. She wrote it with help from her cousin, 14-year-old bassist Eloise Wong. Guitars were added by her 17-year-old sister Lucia de la Garza and family friend,15-year-old Bela Salazar. After that, the opportunities took off. They earned a whirlwind of prestigious opening slots for bands like Bikini Kill and signed with punk stalwart Epitaph. But how would they sound as a studio band? The only thing left for The Linda Lindas was to cast all their irons into the fire. The result is solid steel.

    Somehow at such young ages, they have developed a mature sound that extracts the poppiest elements equally from Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill. Growing Up was recorded by Mila and Lucia’s father Carlos de la Garza. So, if you hear glimmers of Wolf Alice, Bleached, Cherry Glazerr, or Charly Bliss (and you will), that makes sense as he’s worked with them all. The first three tracks blast out of the speakers with chugging, strong guitars and catchy, chant-along. At any moment “Why” could transition into Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll.” And songs like “Racist Sexist Boy” and “Fine” add a snotty punk sneer that brings a grungy L7-like element into the mix.

    What’s more, is that most of the songs are also mature thematically. Pandemic writing created its own hurdles but also brought out universally relatable emotions despite (or perhaps because of) their amount of life experience. Sure “Nino” is about one of their cat’s ability to hunt mice, but even Shonen Knife had their wonderful song “Catnip Dream.” “Magic” contemplates having superpowers, but ultimately realizes real life is better. “Growing Up” projects the band forward to look back on life, reminding themselves to have fun while young.  And the Spanish language song “Cuántas Veces” grows tired of repeatedly having to validate their feelings.

    Growing Up is perhaps the perfect title for the debut offering from these four young women. They are not proclaiming themselves to have all the answers, nor do they claim to be completely naïve. They are simply getting through life’s obstacles the best way they can; acquiring knowledge and expressing what they have experienced together. We should all take a page out and realize we’re never completely grown up; we always have something to learn.
    Review by Shepard Ritzen

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