While first album Ride Your Heart was all broken relationships, Welcome the Worms is a testament to self-care, ditching dead-weight friendships and lovers, finding your people and embracing vulnerabilities.
Bleached are back with Welcome The Worms, truly embracing their punk sensibilities with an exploration of life’s darker, imperfect tendencies.
The band is made up of cotton-candy haired Clavin sisters, Jennifer (guitar/vocals) and Jessica (guitar). Both high school dropouts, they’ve been working the L.A. punk scene for over a decade now.
In their teens they started Mika Miko, a well-regarded punk band known for its frenetic and impassioned live performances. After its split in 2009 they formed Bleached, slowly acquiring Micayla Grace (bass) and later Nick Pillot (drums).
The album bursts with ‘ba-bas’ and ‘woo-hoos’ and you can even hear a spacey theramin in the mix. It jumps around the band members’ favourite era’s: Chemical Air has a Greece 1950s doo-wop feel, while Sour Candy has classic rock and roll vibes infused with early teen-bop from the 90s.
One of the reasons it’s quite difficult to encapsulate the band’s sound is because of the vast range of influences and genres they’ve weaved into Welcome the Worms. When asked what influences them in interviews, they’ll say Blondie, Fleetwood Mac and then they’ll be just as passionate about the aggression of Black Flag, The Misfits, and Joan Jett.
There are three crucial steps to their writing process. Jen sits alone and writes, so she can get everything out. Then the sisters write together (like they’d do when they were teens). Once everything’s out of their system, they all get together and jam it out.
Thirty demos were born out of desert sessions around Joshua Tree. They escaped the distractions of the city, forgoing everyday connection like wi-fi.
Jen unintentionally used the album to release frustrations at feeling stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship (see Wasted’s “I can’t keep wasting my emotions on you”) and the depression that followed. Trying To Lose Myself Again feels like it tells new freedom: “I’ve been sleeping around, this fucking town, tryna lose myself again.”
She says, “There are times where I hate everything and I can’t wait to go out later and get messed up and maybe just sleep with somebody. I’m just being honest. I let myself go through that hardcore.” Bleached, and similar bands, are paving the way for visibility of women to be imperfect publicly, but unfortunately some people are still really thrown by this.
She’s just being real with her audience, and you can’t fault her for that.
Grace, who continues to work as a court reporter, says Bleached’s songs are increasingly about growing up. “You can spend a whole life resisting one painful feeling — rejection or heartbreak or sadness — and not do anything that puts you in a vulnerable place. But you’re not escaping. You either avoid, or you feel.”
“There are beautiful moments that come of that darkness,” Jen says. “In Mika Miko days, I would make the lyrics so vague that no one would know what I was singing about. I’d want them to think it was a love song or something. But that’s only because I wasn’t confident. I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear what I had to say.”
They’ve been super busy, touring Europe, America and are embarking on their debut Aussie tour towards the end of this month, with the help of Aussie label Popfrenzy. Catch all the info you need right here.