EVERY YEAR, like clockwork, there's one band that puts forth a record that perfectly pinpoints the abandon, mystery, and possibility of summer. Deliberate or not, it matters little when you're bombarded with sunny three-chord bubblegum punk-pop and deliciously simple harmonies.
For the summer of 2013, Ride Your Heart—the first full-length album from Bleached—has unquestionably claimed the distinction.
The Los Angeles duo of Jennifer and Jessie Clavin, formerly of LA post-punk band Mika Miko, began as a pact by the two sisters to continue creating music together, following their former band's disbandment after a load of international praise. And that didn't necessarily mean forging on in a more esoteric punk-rock vein.
"Since Mika Miko was so punk," Jennifer says, "we wanted to play music like bands that had more of a rock 'n' roll vibe—like Johnny Thunders, the Gun Club, Blondie, and the Seeds."
Ride Your Heart begins with the Ramones-esque blitzkrieg of "Looking for a Fight," then maneuvers through similarly fast-paced rockers like "Dead Boy" and "Waiting by the Telephone." The album's subject matter reads like a Teen Beat confessional, as Jennifer's slackerish melodies surf California waves among the beach-pop ballads and snotty, synth-free serenades. It would be right at home—if begrudgingly—in posh ads for hip clothing companies or hybrid car commercials, which might sound calculating if the songs' effortless, summery vibe weren't an unavoidable byproduct of the Clavin sisters' upbringing in the San Fernando Valley suburbs.
"Being slightly isolated growing up in the valley has a lot to do with why I even started to play music," says Jennifer. "We couldn't really go anywhere unless we wanted to take a three-hour bus ride into Hollywood. So we would kill time playing music in the garage. And I hated my high school, so when I found punk music I was finally passionate about something."
The fact that the band is a sibling affair goes a long way toward its effortless cohesiveness, too. "[Jessie and I] get along really well and musically we totally get each other," Jennifer says. "Like, we don't question each other's parts because we always like what the other one writes. There really is no bad part."