Few things fill the heart with hope like a group of young girls playing punk rock in a public library. In a space where books and information open minds, there too our minds should be blown by power-chord-punctuated screams of “Poser! Blockhead! Riff raff! Jerk face!”
The Linda Lindas — a half Asian/half Latinx band featuring “two sisters, a cousin and their close friend,” according to their Bandcamp profile — opened the Los Angeles Public Library’s AAPI Heritage Month celebration on May 4. Amidst stacks of books and a small, masked-up audience, the band ripped through a 40-minute set of originals before closing with covers of Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” and The Muffs’ “Big Mouth.” But it wasn’t until yesterday, when the library tweeted, “Don’t mess with the Linda Lindas” with a clip of its newest song, that our new queens took their throne.
“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,” says Mila, the drummer, as the video begins. “After I told him that I was Chinese, he backed away from me. Eloise and I wrote this song based on that experience.
“Racist, Sexist Boy” lunges with sludgy fury and a throttling bass tone, turning on a dime at the speedy power-pop chorus; it’s a vicious take-down of closed-minded boys, but channels anger into renewal: “We rebuild what you destroy.” But the song also extends a through line from punk’s early provocateurs: women who called out misogyny and racism long before the typically white, male scene realized it needed to show up already. Among those key voices, Kathleen Hanna and Alice Bag are fans, and have already had The Linda Lindas open for them while in L.A. Paramore’s Hayley Williams tweeted that the Linda Lindas have been “one of my fav new punk bands since about the time they came out of the womb.”
The Linda Lindas take its name from Linda Linda Linda, a 2005 Japanese movie movie about young girls starting a band (to cover the Blue Hearts song “Linda Linda”) for its high school cultural festival. They recently appeared in two movies: in Amy Poehler’s MOXIE, performing Bikini Kill and The Muffs covers for a party; and performing an original song in The Claudia Kishi Club, a short documentary about The Baby-Sitters Club’s Japanese-American character.
Watch the full L.A. Public Library set from The Linda Lindas below.