When the bustle and distracting stimuli of everyday life gets to be too much, Jennifer Clavin heads for the desert. "It helps you reassess your current life situations," the Bleached frontwoman tells Orlando Weekly. "Literally every time I leave L.A., I am super stressed out. Once I reach the desert everything is OK without a doubt.
"Taking a pause is really helpful ... soaking in the natural beauty of wherever you are is important and therapeutic."
Therapeutic and conducive to great music-making. It was there, holed up in the middle of Joshua Tree far from the tumultuous circumstances that both Jennifer and her bandmate/sister Jessie were dealing with in their personal lives, that the band wrote and recorded their latest release, Welcome the Worms. "L.A. is full of distractions, but there are places you can make your own decompression zones."
Clavin, wrestling with the demon of alcohol abuse, channeled that energy into her songwriting."Having something to write passionately about, negative or positive, is helpful. But then singing it over and over kinda sucks sometimes. I'm like, 'Jeez I was super crazy and out of control at that time.' I've been going through a lot of changes, so to be constantly reminded of some very dark times can get a little exhausting. But it's also a good reminder that I don't want to revisit that time so, in the end, it's all good."
Take "Wednesday Night Melody," for example: "The song was written on a Wednesday night. ... I was alone in my room trying to write something, anything, to my crazy self. In my mind I was channeling the less-ego version of me giving my current self some deep advice about life." Though the song saunters with a sexy groove, the video – directed by Gil Kenan – tells a morbid tale of her bandmates finding Jennifer dead in her bedroom. A Weekend at Bernie's style premise ensues, with the band still pulling off a show that night, fronted by a puppeted-up Clavin. "We shot a lot of it at the Smell ... and did the whole video in a day. I love it because of the dark humor."
There may be darkness lurking in the underbelly of Bleached, but on the surface the band's surf-pop sound wears a brave face. The lyrics are hopeful, though often painted with regret, and the melodies call for a dance-off rather than a pity party. They sound like indulging in milkshakes and french fries at 3 a.m. in your pajamas; like sunrise through storm clouds; like an impulsive decision that turned into an amazing time. They sound like summer nights spent on the beach.
Their Orlando debut has them co-headlining a show with Beach Slang. "We love their music and got to play a show together at SXSW. It was a lot of fun so I am very stoked on this tour." Could an onstage collaboration between the two bands happen? "That would be awesome. I feel like that stuff is always decided on like the third day of tour when everyone starts to get a little more comfortable with each other, and familiar with each other's sets. I guess you'll have to see at the show!" Clavin teases.
The Orlando show is the fourth date of the tour. Whatever happens – or doesn't happen – this show is guaranteed to give everyone in attendance epic bragging rights. You're not going to want to miss it. It could be your last shot to see either of these bands in such a small venue.