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Bleached at Amoeba, Friday April 1st 2016 Reviewed

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Bleached

 

I have seen Bleached a ridiculous amount of times but it wasn’t a good reason to miss their in-store show at Amoeba on Friday night. The almost all-girl band was celebrating their new album ‘Welcome the Worms’ released the same day via Dead Oceans. An almost all-girl band? I should say there is a guy on drums in the quartet whereas sisters Jennifer and Jessie Clavin, and Micayla Grace front the band with two guitars and a bass. They played a few of their new and old tunes in front of a large crowd, while talking with nostalgia about the time when one of them was actually working in the store, ‘I saw Supergrass’, said Jessie while thinking about the good in-store gigs she attended, and I actually remember being at that one too.

Their songs were catchy and often poppy with lots vocal harmonies, occasionally unleashing a more or less powerful punk energy, going from Ramones-que sweetness (‘Sour Candy’) to a certain darkness (‘Desolate Town’) depending on the tunes. There was often a slick mean bass opening the songs followed by more ooo-ooo-ooos girl-group harmonies, but above everything, it looked like the girls wanted to have fun with surf-punk garage rock, bringing up real dance-y rhythms (‘Trying to Lose Myself Again’ or ‘Sleepwalking’), flirting with aggression, getting a bit dissonant but never crossing that line and they kept rocking with songs like ‘Wednesday Night Melody’ or ‘Keep on Keepin’ On’, in a sort of Best-Coast-meets-Weezer-meets-the-Strokes way.

The three women looked confident as always, whipping the air with their blue, orange and dark hair, trashing the stage for the grand finale. Working with renown producer Joe Chiccarelli (Morrissey, The Strokes, Elton John), they actually went to Joshua tree to work on the new songs, resourcing in the desert as many do, before getting back to LA to record the album at the legendary Sunset Sound studios

‘Before we even knew we were working together, I remember Joe saying, you can’t lose these melodies, no matter how raw the music gets,’ Jen explained in an interview. ‘If I was happy [with the songs] in [their] rawest form, then I knew it would be even better after going through production.’… ‘I’ve become a more confident musician,” added Jessie. ‘I wanted to be open-minded to this record and try new things we hadn’t done before. I felt such a great amount of respect working with the people we did on this record, feeling really free to do what I wanted to do, and making it a Bleached world.’

As soon as it was over, the crowd got on line for the signing, and it certainly was a long one, proving that the Bleached girls are now local LA legends, and if you are like me and still scratching your head to make sense of the title of the album, you have to know it came to Jen like a religious revelation as she was walking around Echo Park Lake, high on psychedelics at 8 a.m., and was handed a self-made booklet by some religious fanatics: ‘One of the pages said ‘Welcome the Worms’ and I was like, ‘This!’ I was actually visualizing this title in my head when I read it, in a very cartoonish manner, and it turned to be what I actually thought, a very dark thought directly connected to our mortality packed in a fun line, a metaphor for the album in other words.

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More pictures of the show here.


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