2019 album. Breezy pop songs captured with the timbre of old-time recording techniques. Also available on CD.
Sadgirl the LA trio who craft exciting new takes on classic Americana, refreshing its clean-cut codes with eerie lo-fi energies and surf punk tunes are releasing their anticipated debut ‘Water’. There’s an enclave of the punk world where the music still sounds like an austere distillation of America’s forlorn dream. It’s the sound of an old jukebox spinning a Ronettes 45 through a broken speaker, the kid in the garage figuring out the 1-4-5 progression on guitar, the thump of the kick drum banging in 4/4 time through a dilapidated PA. LA’s SadGirl sound a lot those early American punks—the miscreants that preceded the nihilists. Their songs sound more rooted in the wake of Motor City soul and Pacific Northwest surf rock than in the formula laid out by The Ramones, but there is still something in their reverb-and-tremolo pop that feels like a reminder of America’s decay.
“If you want to learn about water, go to the desert.” It’s a little nugget of wisdom imparted from SadGirl’s recording engineer and friend Max Garland, but it made an impact on guitarist/vocalist Misha Lindes. “Here we are in Los Angeles, a desert, ping-ponging between drought and El Niño. This record is just an attempt to share a very small portion of my experience growing up and living here,” Lindes says about the album. “It’s basically just about the fluidity of water and its power and importance.” But Water isn’t a musical adaptation of a Frank Herbert novel, it’s a collection of breezy, upbeat pop songs captured with the timbre of old-time recording techniques.
Songs like “Little Queenie” touch upon the cadence, yesteryear reverberations, and soulful longing of a Ken Boothe ballad. It’s a song for afternoons in the sun, not reflections on our mortality. Similarly, a classic tormented love song like “Miss Me” nearly transports the listener back to wholesome slow dances at a previous generation’s sock hop, only to be subverted by a chorus of “miss me with that bullshit.” It’s as if guitarist/vocalist Misha Lindes, drummer David Ruiz, and bassist Dakota Peterson want to conjure an idealised past only to remind us of our loss of innocence.
Before frontman Misha Lindes began making tunes for Sadgirl he was winging his way through Nirvana covers in the seventh grade battle of the bands. Born in London before moving to Southern California at the age of seven, Misha was raised by an American father (a musician who played guitar in Dire Straits) and British mother. After his high school battle of the bands earned serious seventh grade glory, Misha began more seriously devoting himself to music. He switched from bass to guitar, studying Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones solos with neighbourhood pal Dakota Peterson (SadGirl's bassist).
Years later, he ditched art school in London and began working as a graphic artist at a screen printing shop back in LA, where he met Paul Caruso — a fellow printer who ran a small press operation out of his garage. "One time we were hanging out and Paul mentioned he played drums, but I kind of forgot about it. When I hit him up a couple months later to jam, we hit it off really well even though we'd never properly hung out." SadGirl was born right then and there. "We've played together every week since," says Misha. But Misha says it was his parents fondness for early rock that shaped his musical direction listing Little Richard, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Zeppelin, David Bowie, and the girl group compilations lining his dad's car — "Phil Spector stuff like The Crystals and The Ronettes" — as chief influences.