The last we checked in with teenage girl power-punk band The Linda Lindas, they were tearing up the Los Angeles Public Library (Cypress Park branch) with their lockdown-hit “Racist, Sexist Boy.” After eleven-year-old drummer Mila de Garza recounted the xenophobic encounter that led to the song, the band unleashed some true noisy angst befitting a group twice their age. It was the song of rage we needed at the time, the clip went viral, and they soon got a record deal. Along the way, they’ve appeared in Amy Poehler’s documentary, contributed to a track by Best Coast, opened for Bikini Kill, played Jimmy Kimmel Live, and received accolades from Thurston Moore and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.
Just over a year later, and The Linda Lindas are back in the library as part of NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series. Usually Tiny Desk gigs features an artist playing in the very cramped offices of the radio station, but as things are still not 100% safe, The Linda Lindas opted for the place they know well, this time playing at the Los Angeles Central Library branch.
This band is no one-off. The de Garza sisters, along with their cousin Eloise Wong and friend Bela Salazar, formed in 2018 and have been playing ever since. Compare the step up in confidence and band interplay on this newer version of “Racist, Sexist Boy,” with which they close the set.
Before that The Linda Lindas perform songs from their new album Growing Up, including the poppy Spanish ballad “Cuántas Veces”, the pop-punk “Talking to Myself,” and the title track. The band’s lyrics are honest, absent pretension, and while many of the concerns are universal, the album is definitely born out of COVID-era anxiety. If you’re wondering how these years are affecting those coming of age at this time, the album is essential.
And, hey kids, there’s still available (not on the live playlist but as a single on bandcamp) “Nino,” a harmony-filled ode to their pet cat.
By the way, there aren’t many other rock bands playing in libraries, but we did find one while searching the intertubes: it’s The Clash’s Mick Jones playing a solo electric set of his hits. It’s just one more reminder to support your local library—you never know who might turn up.
Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the Notes from the Shed podcast and is the producer of KCRW’s Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.