Plague Vendor (Photo by Robert Hickerson)
“This urgency, it just won’t quit”
Plague Vendor’s recent show at DC9 was an early one, and as I raced to catch my yellow line train I could feel a mounting sense of urgency, driven by the seeping, intoxicating thrill of seeing two Los Angeles-based bands who have earned a reputation for putting on wildly entertaining live shows.
Bleached perform at DC9 on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
The ladies of Bleached brought some resplendent guitars and a devil-may-care attitude to DC9 last Wednesday in support of a punchy sophomore album, Welcome the Worms.
Jennifer Clavin sings and plays guitar with a bright vitality that often covers up a subversive lyrical streak. Early in the band’s set, Jennifer sings “Keep On Keepin’ On,” ostensibly a new song about powering through a challenge, but the narrator’s challenge is forgetting the past and the mistakes she’s made so that she can hook up with the guy she desires.
Lost love is a recurring theme in the songs of Bleached, and although it comes up quite a bit on the new album, the band also sang a lot of broken hearts and missing partners on its debut album, Ride Your Heart, from 2013. Songs like “Searching Through the Past” and “Waiting by the Telephone” from the debut album concern themselves with that absent mate but also offer up rollickin’ guitars in a sunny, punky stampede of strings.
Zoe Reign fronts No Parents at DC9 on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
Readers of L.A. Weekly voted No Parents as “Best Band” of 2015! And the goofy skate punks, who opened for Bleached at DC9 on Wednesday night, sure have a way with words.
“No Parents are like a John Hughes movie starring the Menendez brothers: a cute comedy loaded with violence and splattered adults. For the layman who reads about punk rock in fashion mags, they’re the next FIDLAR — the new torchbearers of skate-punk,” said L.A. Weekly.
No Parents are four men strong, although there were five of them at DC9. An additional touring guitarist perhaps?
Bleached (Photo by Nicole Anne Robbins)
The talented Clavin sisters, Jen and Jessie, once fronted a garage band called Mika Miko in Los Angeles. Despite the band’s popularity, they left it to join bassist Micayla Grace in a new garage project, Bleached.
The resulting punk band borrowed a sneer from Joan Jett and girl band pop vocals from the likes of The Shangri-La’s. Thematically, they deal with bad romance and bad habits. Bleached released a debut album, Ride Your Heart, in 2013, and they now have returned for their sophomore effort, Welcome the Worms, released April 1! The ladies have hit the road on a tour in support of the album, and they stop at DC9 on Wednesday, April 13.
Watch the official music video for “Keep on Keepin’ on,” the lead single from the new album, by Bleached on YouTube:
Said to have recorded the album during difficult personal times, Jen and Jessie poured themselves into it, finding a creative outlet for their tumultuous circumstances and making a helluva record. Of the result, NPR Music said, “Bleached’s furious and fun sound, mixed with a slacker vibe, invites you to enjoy your youthful worries while they last.”
L.A. punk quartet No Parents open for Bleached. Tickets are available online!
w/ No Parents
Wednesday, April 13