There is an incredible amount of crazy energy brewing in a lesser-known corner of the local LA garage rock music scene – and it’s being led by girls. Being an LA-native myself, I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to witness first hand the impressive female empowerment fests exploding out of those sweaty pockets of clubs and venues in LA that attract mobs of adolescents looking for a good ole fashioned moshing around. Seeing outspoken front-woman Clem Creevy of Cherry Glazerr defy all standards by detouring from sing-song beachy love songs that West Coast lo-fi girl rock normally emulate, to embrace the darker, sexier side of girl rock-pop that has been missing in this specific genre for too long has been a privilege to say the least. Whether it’s Trump’s misogynistic reign pervading the country, or feminism finally regaining its voice afresh within the underground, there is a movement of girls seeking to provide the anthem for current and future generations of teenage females to beat their drums and stage their revolutions to. One of these girls is Lydia Night, front-woman of the band The Regrettes.
I was introduced to The Regrettes for the first time when they opened for Cherry Glazerr’s Pussy Bites Back tour. The Regrettes, a four-piece rock band led by 15 year-old Lydia Night, along with her friends Genessa Gariano on guitar, Sage Nicole on bass, and drummer Maxx Morando, radiated all the powerful feminist energy of the headliners, but with a vintage rockabilly twist, without ever sacrificing the raw, off-kilter pop-punk that West Coast rock has been popularising lately. To say they are talented “for their age” (a backhanded critique they often get for being such young musicians) would be not only offensive, but an understatement. These teens are flooring music critics for their incredibly well-crafted and defined musical style, unrelentingly straightforward lyrics, and catchy melodies. You may guess from their name that they derive inspiration from old 50s and 60s rock, such as the famous girl groups The Marvelettes and The Ronettes. Incorporating harmonies and humming roughed up by crashing guitars and Night’s low and pleasingly raspy vocals, they manage to perfectly invent a contemporary, fresh take on the old, classic bands of the doo-wop era.
Their newly released album, ‘Feel Your Feelings Fool!’ which came out early January, is only the beginning for these promising young musicians’ careers. The entire album, as suggested by the title, is a pleading from the band for people to let their authentic emotions out without feeling unnecessary shame. The fifteen stunningly produced tracks on the album are a strong proclamation of songwriter Night owning all the flaws and misconceptions that come with the territory of being a teenage girl.
The album opens with the track, ‘I Don’t Like You’, a rumbling, dancy tune about a girl blatantly confessing to a boy that she doesn’t like him. It is a mild introduction to the theme of Night’s brash lyrical style. Her words hold nothing back, letting the audience revel in the relatability that surfaces. She says the things most dare to not say, which is exactly the quality that makes her words so alluring.
Perhaps the most powerful and relatable lyric of the album comes from the catchy second track, ‘A Living Human Girl’, which opens with the lines, ‘I’ve got…. pimples on my face/And grease in my hair/Prickly legs, go ‘head and stare,’ and ends with the proclamation, ‘I can be brave and I can be bold/No matter what you have to say/Oh I fall in love with people once a day/But if you ask me out, I’m still allowed to say no way.’ These lines, while simple and straightforward, are a provocative reminder for young girls to realise that they are not under any obligation to say yes to anyone. Night’s lyrics, injected with power, are giving girls the confidence to speak up about how they really feel, and not conform to the pressures of saying yes to everything because that is what society expects of them. Despite the seriousness of Night’s messages regarding gender stereotypes and body image, she manages to embellish each idea with a copious note of humour that gives each tune a lovable quirk and goofiness that gives an approachable edge to feminist ideas.
By the time you’ve finished listening to this album you might just feel like you can conquer the world. Or kick Trump in the face (more than you probably already do). And once you do, don’t forget that The Regrettes helped spur on that spark of rebellion – while providing you with exemplary dancing music. They certainly did that for me, and for that, I thank them. From one girl to another.