When the Regrettes plug in at The Basement East this Friday, it won’t be their first time in Nashville. The (mostly) girl-group power-pop punkers have rocked this town before, with a scorching set at Fond Object in 2017 — hot on the heels of the release of their first album, Feel Your Feelings Fool — and a holiday season barnburner at The BEast last December. Not to mention, recording the bulk of their new album, How Do You Love?, in Nashville, at the Sound Emporium with producer Mike Elizondo.
But despite their frequent visits, guitarist/frontwoman/songwriter Lydia Night says every trip to the Music City is an occasion. “There’s just something special about Nashville,” she says. “Obviously it’s a huge music city and you can feel that, but it’s also beautiful and so different from Los Angeles. I love driving down the streets and seeing houses surrounded by trees and the dark green grass. I was just there with my boyfriend (Wallows guitarist and vocalist Dylan Minnette), a few weeks ago. We were celebrating our anniversary while he played a gig at the Cannery.”
Romance is very much on Night’s mind lately, considering that How Do You Love? is a concept album chronicling the story of relationship — it’s rise, fall, and aftermath — through 14 power punk gems and one spoken word piece. It’s an ambitious undertaking for a young band, but one that Night and her bandmates pull off with irresistible pop hooks, riot grrrl grit, and sharply honed songwriting. Even though Night is just 18 years old, it’s the sound of an artist coming into her own.
“Our first album helped us to build confidence as a band and for me as writer,” Night says. “That led me to feel more comfortable about exploring different sounds and styles. I think you can hear the confidence — us doing what’s best for the song rather than trying to stay in one genre. There are definitely more pop elements to the songs that on our first album. That’s a result of the increased confidence. I love writing poppy melodies, so I let myself do more this time.”
Although How Do You Love? may have a sweeter sound on first listen than the power-chord-driven chunk of Feel Your Feelings Fool, the fiercely feminist take-no-bullshit spirit of the first album and singles like the Brett Kavanaugh-inspired indictment, “Poor Boy” is still present.
“When you’re my age and just turning into an adult, it’s really horrifying seeing the world you’re about to step into when Trump is the one in charge of it, especially being a woman,” Night says. “The new album tells a love story, but more importantly it also tells a story of empowerment and a woman not taking someone’s shit. It also deals with everything that is happening right now. It’s about not taking the bullshit from people that are trying to make others feel small. Sometimes you have to give people medicine in a cupcake.”
The Regrettes play The Basement East this Friday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. with Greer and The Pressure Kids. More info at the Facebook event page.