The words “I don’t give a fuck” are arguably the best way The Lindas could introduce themselves. The lyrics of the synth-punk group’s first single easily represent the attitude of the members toward the norms heard in music today, including the average length of songs.
“I Don’t Give a Fuck” begins with a simple melody of three minor chords played on an Elka Panther organ by Tony Santos. Then, singer Yasmine “Yas” Smith commands the listener’s attention with the foul-mouthed opening line and her Altered Images-like, high-pitched vocals.
At just over the one-minute mark, the tune ends, and it’s on to the next one. In fact, the entire record, titled “8×9” (released on cassette Jan. 5 via Burger Records) is over in a flash, spanning nine songs within nine minutes.
Santos describes the debut album — which is also available digitally on Spotify — as punk rock “with all the fat cut out.”
“We’re kind of in the spirit of here’s a quick, catchy song, we bang it out and it’s on to the next one,” he says.
The Lindas — comprised of members of Le Shok, FM Bats and Grand Elegance — met organically through connections in the tight-knit Orange County and Long Beach punk scenes.
Santos, who also plays in punk/goth outfits The Oil Pans and Pipsqueak, met guitarist Vinny Vaguess last year while booking a gig at the Continental Room in Fullerton. The two discovered they both wanted to write short, synth punk and wrangled in friends Rusty Cavender (bass, formerly of Le Shok), Tony Matarazzo (drums) and Smith.
The newly formed group soon met at Hububaloo Studios in La Habra and recorded “8×9” in one day through ANALOG with sound engineer Mike McHugh, who’s also worked with acts such as The Growlers and the Black Lips.
The Lindas first released “8×9” digitally through ReFry Records, which is co-run by Vaguess, before approaching Burger Records in November about releasing the effort on tape.
Despite the recent release, the members agree they see The Lindas as more of a side project to their other bands and as sort of a way to throw a middle finger up to the standards in today’s music industry.
“For even my favorite bands, I don’t want to watch them play for more than 20 minutes,” Cavender says. “We kind of took that and just amplified that even more to where it was like let’s play 15 songs in 13 minutes. Maybe we won’t get to the end of that because we’ll get into a fight with somebody or somebody will have a meltdown on stage. That’s what I wanted, and all I could tolerate was 15 to 20 minutes max. I just couldn’t understand why any band would get up there and just play for 45 minutes. That just drives me crazy.”
The incorporation of a crude female singer a-la-Bikini Kill also adds to The Lindas’ punch but isn’t forced.
Cavender notes Smith’s attitude, which can be easily compared to Joan Jett or Siouxsie Sioux, isn’t an act.
“That’s how she is when she’s walking to the liquor store or when she talks,” he says. “The lyrics that come out and the way she sings them, that’s just her on a Tuesday afternoon.”
Take “I Don’t Give a Fuck” for example.
“The thing about that song is the music is cool and catchy, but Yas’ lyrics and vocals are what really makes that song,” Cavender says. “We can all relate to that one asshole that we just can’t get out of our lives. Everybody has wanted to be able to say, ‘I don’t give a fuck about you, I don’t give a fuck what you’re about, just get away from me.’ I think Yas just sums that up perfectly in that song. She really nailed it.”
So far, the band has only played one show and has no immediate plans for any further commitments.
“It was a lot of fun, and things could happen down the road, but it’s not our number one focus,” Santos says. “It’s not that we don’t care about music or anything. We care so much that we want to get people excited about punk. It’s just this energy thing.”
Just like their fleeting tunes, indeed, The Lindas leave listeners wanting more.