In April of last year, Los Angeles-based punk band Bleached released a full-length album called “Welcome the Worms.” Less than a year later and they’ve already got a new EP out called “Can You Deal?”
That kind of turnaround is rare in an age when some artists might spend a decade lollygagging before producing anything fresh. But immediately following the release of their album, Bleached had an axe to grind.
Although “Welcome the Worms” was well-received (my SoundDiego colleague Dustin Lothspeich raved about it in an interview with them last year), the way in which it was received was largely problematic for the band. According to lead singer Jennifer Clavin, much of the press surrounding the release and the band in general dealt with gender, with the fact that the band is composed primarily of women.
It bothered Clavin that such an honest, personal record was reduced to questions about what it’s like to be a girl in a rock band. Reductive epithets like “girl band” and “female fronted” failed to adequately describe the band’s ambitions, accomplishments and, perhaps most importantly, their sound.
Harnessing angst and energy to produce an earnest and emotional wall of sound is not an easy feat to accomplish. So often it can come across as over-anthemic, cheeky or insincere. None of those things describe Bleached, who honed their punk-influenced, power pop-tinged indie rock on their previous album and exercise it with deft, immediate precision on their new EP.
In conjunction with the EP, the band released a limited edition zine featuring contributions from Julien Baker, Alice Glass, Hinds, Tegan Quin (of Tegan and Sara) and Hayley Williams (of Paramore). The zine, also called “Can You Deal?” is available for pre-order, and all net proceeds go to benefit Planned Parenthood.
The zine and the EP are part of Clavin’s effort to create “a space for female musicians to share their experiences,” according to her. She’s “done with being seen as a novelty,” and she hopes that people can finally deal with women playing rock & roll.
Bleached play House of Blues San Diego with the Damned on Friday, April 7, and they are very, very excited about it. Get tickets here.
Rutger Rosenborg was almost a Stanford neuroscientist before he formed Ed Ghost Tucker. He now plays in the Lulls and makes music on his own when he's not writing. Follow his updates on Facebook or contact him directly.