After driving up and down the coast for weeks, two Los Angeles bands quickly gaining traction in the independent music scene will be returning to their home city to end their summer tour at legendary d.i.y. venue pehrspace on August 16.
Badass feminist duo Girlpool and miserable garage pop darlings Heathers, two bands known for their roots in the local scene, as well as for their fiercely loyal fanbases, will return from a west coast tour that featured stops in cities including Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, to perform what will surely be one of the best independent shows in Los Angeles this month.
If the underrepresentation of women in punk music and other related genres pisses you off, Girlpool will restore some hope to your jaded soul. Comprised of Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker, Girlpool is everything the punk scene should be: inclusive, blunt, unapologetic, clever, and constantly striving to be better than the patriarchal culture that helped establish punk and has kept it primarily straight, white, and male-oriented for decades.
Whether they are singing about the inherent misogyny of slutshaming ("Slutmouth") or about the importance of listening to women instead of talking over them ("Jane"), Girlpool is one of the most important bands making music in Los Angeles right now. After seeing Girlpool perform live more than ten times, this writer can guarantee that the energy on their self-titled cassette is perfectly matched when they stand in front of an audience and captivate every single person listening. They are skilled musicians and always inspire people to dance or sing along, creating an environment that is safe and healthy for everyone. There is definitely a need for more bands like them.
Heathers, Girlpool's tour mates and best buds, will also be bringing the noise to pehrspace on the 16th. Made up of frontman Michael Francis, bassist Thom Lucero, and drummer Michael Wegener, this garage pop trio has been making waves all year, touring in Europe and rocking both the east and west coasts of the U.S., and even announcing last week that they will be opening for Austin rock band White Denim in October at L.A. institution The Fonda. Known for their loud support of bands like Girlpool and The Spook School, Heathers is a band devoted not only to creating high quality recordings and thoroughly entertaining their audiences, but also for openly and unapologetically experimenting with how to define masculinity in a scene that is in serious need of a shake up, as well as throwing support to those who are often passed over due to their gender or sexuality.
Whether donning cute floral or chic black dresses while performing, singing about the complexities of gender in songs like "Turn to One" and "Teenage Clothes," or calling aggressors out for making shows unsafe for women, Heathers is the ultimate example of a trio of men who are willing to stand up for women and other folks without looking for a pat on the back. While the movement of men in music standing up for and promoting the presence of and respect for gender and sexual minorities is still fledgling, it is reassuring to know that groups like Heathers are pushing this attitude. This passion in breaking away from traditional garage rock makes watching Heathers hypnotizing, as they throw everything into every single show they play and deliver in a style unmatched by anyone else in the scene. Like Girlpool, Heathers is another band that sounds as exceptional live as they do on their recordings, and this writer certainly hopes that more bands will follow their example.