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Bleached performs "Electric Chair" for a Field Recording at the 12th Street Soular Food Garden in Austin, Texas, during SXSW 2012. (NPR)

Bleached: Picnic Table Punk

by Michael Katzif
Jul 25, 2012

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The blues may come in myriad shapes and sizes, but on the eve of 2012's South By Southwest music festival, it took the form of two sisters from Los Angeles: Jennifer and Jessica Clavin, who make up the core of Bleached. A rough-and-tumble garage-rock band, Bleached is one of many young punk-infused acts playing three-minute, three-chord bashers with sneering, unraveled immediacy. When played on stage, the band's music takes on a messy-but-fun live-wire buoyancy.

Bleached's "Searching Through the Past" is one of 2011's catchiest songs, but that single's B-side, "Electric Chair," is a distortion-fueled strumfest built around two lines: "Just got out the electric chair / and I don't see you anywhere."

Just as we hit that glorious "magic hour" where the sun began to glow off the Clavins' long golden hair, Bleached played a stripped-down version of "Electric Chair" at a food-truck parking lot off the highway — about a mile northeast of Austin's swarming 6th Street.

Assisted by Sara Jean Stevens on bass and drummer Jonathan Safley — here playing a light-up tambourine bought at the last second from a tchotchke shop — Bleached showcases its fun, off-the-cuff spirit. It may lack meticulous precision, but the band's infectious energy and simple, winning hooks more than compensate.

Credits:

Producer: Mito Habe-Evans; Additional Videography: Katie Hayes Luke; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Special Thanks To: 12th Street Soular Food Garden; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Keith Jenkins

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