WASTOIDS DIGS: The Side Eyes: What’s Your Problem

In a lot of respects, the hardcore punk that roared out of Southern California in the late ’70s and early ’80s—typified by bands like Black Flag, The Germs, and the Circle Jerks—qualifies as “classic rock” in 2023. Which makes Los Angeles band The Side Eyes, who play revved up, no frills hardcore, something of a revivalist act. Growing up the daughter of Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Go’s) and Jeff McDonald (Redd Kross), front-person Astrid McDonald probably had access to a better record collection than most, but the fury that fuels her the group’s new album What’s Your Problem? doesn’t come across as studious or try hard. Instead, the four-piece, which features McDonald, brothers Kevin and Chris Devine on guitar and bass, and drummer Sam Mankinenthunder sound earnestly pissed off on numbers like “Shit Talker” and “False World.” But there’s optimism too—the charging “Negative Space” extols the value of defining yourself independently, and “Clown” takes aim at people who think they’re righteous when they’re really just being assholes (“It’s not that hard to be nice,” Astrid screams, sounding like her head’s out to explode). Produced by Jeff McDonald (Redd Kross/Melvins), What’s Your Problem? hits hard and fast, coming in under the 20-minute mark. Quick songs, quick tempos, and quick wit—The Side Eyes’ thousand yard stare is proves worth a look. Check out In the Red to get your copy of vinyl (which spins at 45 RPM naturally) and learn more about Side Eyes here.

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