There’s some music that makes you feel a part of something. That invites you in, either to a personal memory or a cultural phenomenon. Boston trip Linnea’s Garden manages to welcome us into both, walking the tightrope between personal and public as if it were a wide trail. Their newest record, Fashion Show, offers homages to post-punk and insightful lyrics on the relationship of personhood and performance.
Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Linnea Herzog, bassist Amy Galaviz, and drummer Hands, Boston’s Linnea’s Garden combine all manner of genres into coherent glam-punk statements. While there’s grunge, post-punk, and power-pop throughout these songs, the band manages to tie all these influences into something singular. With three singles in 2020, an EP in 2021, and now a full length this year, the band is showing no signs of stopping.
The band describes the shift in sound from the Nowhere Friday Nights EP to Fashion Show as a trading of 60s backbeats for 70s disco beats. From the opener “Looking,” it’s clear the band is trying to get listeners on their feet. With phasey guitar solos and catchy melodies, this first song can’t help but draw you in. Continuing into “No Bra,” the band shows their affinity for 2010s indie rock. When thinking about the lyrical content on this album, Herzog recalls, “At one point, I realized that my ‘gig closet’ contained more clothes than my ‘normal closet.’ Linnea’s Garden’s LP Fashion Show was born. It’s about loving that person you are onstage, and trying to be that person offstage, too.” And you can hear that desire for sincerity and performance in these songs.
In the opening lines of “Normal,” Herzog sings, “I don’t wanna be clean and pure / That would be a lie for fucking sure / Am I righteous? / Am I doing the right shit?” As Hands and Galaviz create the perfect bass and drum groove, Herzog is able to deliver these lyrics with a sense of urgency. There’s a direct and honest approach to these songs, and it’s audible in the instruments and vocals. From the anthemic punk of “Daydream” to the dark disco of “Friends,” there’s a myriad of musical moments to love on this record.
Linnea’s Garden have tapped into a sonic palette that feels perfectly aligned with Herzog’s questions for society. As the band moves from indie rock to disco to funk to post-punk, there’s no whiplash from this genre-bending. It feels seamless. And that’s a special thing to find in a band.
At one point, I realized that my “gig closet” contained more clothes than my “normal closet.” Linnea’s Garden’s LP Fashion Show was born. It’s about loving that person you are onstage, and trying to be that person offstage, too.
Fashion Show is the fearless full-length debut of Linnea’s Garden, released April 1, 2022 on Red on Red Records. The album runs the gamut from post punk to indie rock to disco to grunge, starting with the psychedelic groove of “Looking” (“full of twists and turns and beautiful guitar/bass interplay” – Josh Rutledge, Faster and Louder) and the new wave-inspired “Cut & Paste” (“Franz Ferdinand meets Gang of Four,” – Jed Gottlieb, Boston Herald). The third single from the album, “No Bra,” is a refreshing blast of modern rock that bridges the gap from “Rebel Rebel” to “Rebel Girl.” We recorded the album ourselves (with mixing and mastering by NYC-based producer Tom O’Donnell) and I made all the music videos. What I’ve learned is that sometimes the art is in the process of figuring out what the art is.
Fashion Show marks a new era for Linnea’s Garden, whose sound and vision have evolved since our live debut in the summer of 2021. No longer a “whiskey lyric fashion show for an audience of one,” this band is ready to rock a sold-out crowd. Linnea’s Garden’s Fashion Show tour kicks off Saturday, April 2 at O’Brien’s Pub with an album release party featuring performances by Carissa Johnson, Stars Like Ours, and Pageant Girls.Linnea’s Garden
There’s this perfect blend of the personal and the political in your lyrics. Could you talk about your method for writing lyrics, and how to capture moments that feel so intimate yet also have this broader message?
I’ve kept a journal since childhood. Many of my lyrics start as journal entries, either about society or personal experiences. There’s a lot more truth than fantasy in this album. Sometimes, I read or overhear a really great line and have to use it in a song. I like to get specific without explaining everything and let the listener interpret how they want. A few lines have intentionally vague or double meanings, like “breathing in your fugue” (could refer to the piece of classical music or dissociative state), or “pick up the ancient jaguar” (is it the animal or guitar?).
What was the recording process like for this album? Did you have the arrangements all mapped out beforehand, or did they evolve once y’all got into the studio?
We recorded ourselves in our studio, then worked remotely with our producer (Tom O’Donnell of Corner Soul) who mixed and mastered the tracks.
Like most DIY adventures, the process was lengthy but rewarding! We started by laying down the song’s usual live arrangement performed by the band as a trio. These parts— including Hands’ drums, Amy’s bass, my rhythm guitar, main vocals, and some guitar leads and vocal harmonies— were predetermined.
After that, it was a free-for-all. Some of my favorite guitar moments on the album were spontaneously created in studio: the solo/riff guitar harmony on “No Bra,” the warbly resonance on “Feedback,” the wah-wah effects on “Mouth,” the “laser noises” and squeaks that you hear on “Rat Ppl” (created using multiple delay pedals), and the dissonant guitar harmonics at the end of “Mayor” leading into “Alarm.” As someone who’s transitioned from primarily rhythm guitar to a hybrid of rhythm and lead, I’ve started to learn the range and limits you can put a guitar through.
You had an album release show in early April for Fashion Show at O’Brien’s Pub in Boston. I played there a few years back and had a blast! I love that place. How was the release show there?
We love O’Brien’s too! Killer night, fantastic lineup. Carissa Johnson, Pageant Girls and Stars Like Ours joined us on the bill and seriously rocked (check out these bands if you like synth-heavy indie rock, witchy post-punk, and/or ‘90s-inspired alternative, respectively). During our set, we had live projections by Digital Awareness, an Allston-based analog video duo. It created a dark and dramatic vibe during our set.
What do you hope listeners take away from these songs?
Never underestimate the power of doing things yourself. You might find more art in the process of making art. Always keep learning and questioning the status quo. Dress up, it’s more fun.
About Linnea’s Garden
Linnea’s Garden is a glam punk trio from Boston, MA. Channeling elements of indie rock, new wave, grunge, power pop, and dance punk, the band has wowed audiences across New England and New York with their brilliant songs and flashy vibes. The brainchild of singer/songwriter/guitarist Linnea Herzog (formerly of PowerSlut), bassist Amy Galaviz, and drummer Hands, Linnea’s Garden combines melodic riffs, danceable grooves and introspective lyrics into an energy that’s all their own.
Linnea’s Garden’s first LP, Fashion Show, will be released April 1, 2022 on Red on Red Records. The album’s lead single, “Looking,” is about searching for an escape, putting in the work, and doing the thing instead of finding reasons not to. These ideas represent the logical extension of Linnea’s Garden’s 2021 debut EP Nowhere Friday Nights, a joyous celebration of art, science and love. But with another year and the band’s first live shows under their belt, their sound has veered outside the lines of Nowhere Friday Nights’ straightforward power-pop-punk approach. The ‘60s backbeats have evolved into ‘70s disco beats, with an emphasis on heavier grooves and deeper themes. Hippie bell-bottoms, disco glitter, grunge flannel and combat boots, androgynous skinny ties, face gems, smeared eyeliner and mesh crop tops – Fashion Show wears it all. Staying true to their first single, they do it ‘cuz they like to do it.
Linnea’s Garden was pent-up and productive in 2020, self-releasing 3 singles and videos: the glam, gender-bending “I Wanna Try On Yr Clothes,” subversively sexual “Like the Patriarchy,” and apocalyptic rocker “Superspreader.” In March 2021, Linnea’s Garden released their Nowhere Friday Nights EP, whose singles “Non-Dramatic Breakup Song,” “Science and You,” and “Replacement” garnered worldwide airplay and critical acclaim. Since their live debut in June 2021, Linnea’s Garden is proud to have shared the stage with many talented acts such as Screaming Females, Freezepop, Brandie Blaze and Melissa Ferrick. Offstage, Dr. Linnea Herzog is an internationally recognized neuroscientist and electrophysiologist whose work has been published in Current Biology and The Journal of Neuroscience.
Featured image by Bill Woodworth.