Ultimately, music is about expression. What are you trying to say? What are you communicating to the listener? Is it an emotion? Is it a social message? True musicians and artists use music to express themselves the only way they know how. For these rare talents, they need music. For them, music is their voice. That is what I love about music. I love the genuine drive and emotion behind writing a song and the need to express that to others. Cotton candy pop is all good and has it’s place, but what I truly love about music is the personal journey of expression.
The Linda Lindas is a punk band comprised of Asian American and Latin American teenage girls who really bring it. The band is made of two sisters, their cousin and their best friend. Together Mila (age 10), Eloise (age 13), Lucia (age 14) and Bela (age 14) make up a very exciting punk band. Think of Bikini Kill mixed with L7, The Dead Milkmen, NOFX and your grade 10 English class. It’s like you go to study hall and four girls stand up and start ripping through some 90s West Coast punk. They have a self titled EP, The Linda Lindas, and a few singles released in 2020. They recently recorded the track Racist, Sexist Boy at a public library in L.A. This went viral online and led to a recent record deal for the band. For me, The Linda Lindas embody everything I love about music.
First of all, the track itself personalises social issues of racism and sexism. Mila sits at her drum kit, complete with a Bikini Kill shirt, and says ““A little while before we went into lockdown, a boy came up to me in my class and said that his dad told him to stay away from Chinese people. After I told him that I was Chinese, he backed away from me. Eloise and I wrote this song based on that experience.” That frames up a frantic punk track about the insidious nature of racism and sexism in modern society. This is an evil the band is going to beat into submission through their music. They will not let these destructive forces silence them, but fuel their creativity and righteous rage. I love how they take this personal experience and expose its ugliness to the world. Mila and Eloise will not let sexism and racism hide in the shadows and grow. They expose it for all to see and for all to criticise.
Musically, this track hits all the notes I love about 90s punk. There is a crunchy visceral guitar paired with a driving bass, which gives the track a raw power. Mila mixes things up with frantic Bikini Kill / NOFX style bridge in classic sped up 4/4 time. On the one hand, The Linda Lindas are a throwback to classic West Coast punk bands, but have an honesty of expression that gives the track a fresh vibe. Eloise’s vocal is pure punk as she takes no prisoners and screams into the mic until it’s within an inch of its life. This is pure physical and emotional expression…think of someone turning a Jackson Pollock canvas into a two minute punk track.
In Racist, Sexist Boy The Linda Lindas show us all how music can be the truest form of expression. Powered by their friendship and shared racist / sexist experiences, the band creates a piece of art that is giving million of girls their own anthem for empowerment. In an environment where media constantly bombards girls with images of white “nice girls” it is imperative that The Linda Lindas are there to show how girls / women can find power in their voice. I love this song and I hope the Linda Lindas continue screaming in the library and taking down racist sexist boys everywhere. Mila, Bikini Kill is proud of what you and your band has created.
Listen to Racist, Sexist Boy