The Side Eyes are a bad-ass Los Angeles-based punk band with more balls than a lot of these Hot Topic-inspired wannabes. However, the punk rockers have a little something extra special up their sleeves. Frontwoman Astrid McDonald is the daughter of Jeff McDonald of Redd Kross and Charlotte “Chargo” Caffey of The Go-Go’s. Yeah, so it’s no surprise, this girl has music flowing through her veins.
One other cool thing about this 7-inch, ‘Songs That Chargo Taught Us,’ is both bands – The Side Eyes and Red Kross – cover songs penned by Charlotte Caffey.
The Side Eyes, which also features guitarist Kevin Devine and bassist Chris Devine, and drummer Nick Arnold, take the A-side with a song called “Don’t Talk To Me,” which was written by Caffey when she was in the punk band called the Eyes (this was pre-Go-Go’s). The song is pure punk in Ramones fashion at a quick and blistering pace of 2:34. McDonald’s voice is powerful like Donita Sparks of L7 or Selene Vigil-Wilk Of 7-Year Bitch. As a whole, the song commands your attention with its heavy hitting music and commanding vocals.
On the flip side, Redd Kross covers a very early Go-Go’s song, “Screaming,” which was written by Caffey along with Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin in the late 1970s. The song didn’t appear on an album until the band released the compilation album ‘Return to the Valley of The Go-Go’s’ in 1994. Redd Kross turns it up, punks it out and lets it wail with a bit of California surf, breathing new life into this Go-Go’s hidden gem. People usually forget that in their infancy the Go-Go’s were a legit punk band, and hearing “Screaming,” reminds us just how bad-ass they were.
Though Redd Kross is the big name here, it’s clear that the Side Eyes are an up and coming punk rock band which will certainly get your attention. Not only are the deep cuts on ‘Songs That Chargo Taught Us’ special, the concept behind the release is pretty magical as well.