My first encounter with Karate in the Garage was a chance one at The Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa. I had gone there to see a band from Baltimore that was followed by karate in the Garage. Let this be a lesson as to why you should stick around for all the bands when you go to a show. What I saw and heard that night was a band that is a fun mix of punk with just a dash of ska.
The EP begins with "Crash & Burn", an uptempo song that is a great showcase for all the members of the band. The guitar and bass lend a touch of funk to the sound, while Tahlena Chikami's vocals are pure punk. At some point, she says "Love me, love me!" and sounds a lot like from Pussycat of Pussycat and The Dirty Johnsons. This song brings kind of an unexpected (maybe even off the reservation) comparison to mind: The Dead Milkmen. I would say that Karate in the Garage is a little more aggressive, but it's that blend of punk and funk that brings The Dead Milkmen to mind - only in this particular song.
I'll say this for Chikami. When you see (or speak with) her, you probably wouldn't expect the vocals she produces. She's very sweet. However, when she sings, she sounds as if she'd just as soon give you a karate chop to the neck. One particular shout in "Little Citizen" is a great example of this.
This band could draw a lot of comparisons simply because of the range it displays. It has the energy and volume of Bad Religion. There are moments when you can get just a touch of No Doubt influence (a relatively easy comparison for a female-fronted punk band from Orange County). The vocals in "Arsenal" remind me a lot of Dance Hall Crashers. The guitar in "Dollz R 4 girls" and "Little Citizen" takes a slight turn - but only a slight one - toward metal. This is a fun EP with four songs that leaves you wanting more of Karate in the Garage. Here Goes Nothing is available now on Bandcamp.