These days, finding a band that’s as full-blooded “pop-punk” as girlfriends is, well… a hard task to say the least. Sure, the genre is far from dead. Many artists are still carrying the torch of pop-punk, pushing its evolution forward in the never-ending story of popular music. But… very few artists capture the original essence of the genre in as organic and seamless of a way as girlfriends. This became strikingly clear on June 26th when the duo — consisting of Beats 1 host Travis Mills and entrepreneur Nick Gross — put out their debut single, “California.”
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Produced by John Feldmann (5 Seconds of Summer, All Time Low, Blink-182), “California” almost sounds as if the traditional tropes of pop-punk were personified — it features everything from driving guitars to youthful emotional turmoil to the genre’s iconic singing style. Even the band’s aesthetics fit into the niche, between the duo’s spot-on fashion and unfortunately male-gaze-y band name. Musically, the song’s high point is its chorus, which is so infectious and catchy that it’ll instantly put you in a “turn up the car radio and sing at the top of your lungs” kind of mood.
“This is the second song we wrote as a band,” Mills told American Songwriter. “We were in Calabasas with John Feldmann at his home studio. John always has an acoustic guitar out when you start a session and he had the chords already and the tag of California. We had the whole idea done in about 30-45 minutes and just spent the rest of the day recording all the parts. I wanted to do something that reflected who we were and how we grew up. I was going through a very transformative time, fresh out of a breakup and it all just came out so perfect. Feeling like this place you grew up loving was somehow a prison now. The same streets you drove down together looked different. The beautiful California sunset looked tainted and not as vibrant as before. I hope people can hear the sincerity in this record and relate to it somehow.”
Listen to “California” by girlfriends below: