The Brat – a Pop-Punk Band Gen X Needed: Attitudes LP Review

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In the late seventies as the Buzzcocks were fighting to get EMI to press “What Do I Get?/Oh Shit!” on a 45 single and disco became a cultural phenomenon with Saturday Night Fever topping the charts, a punk-rock band was forming in East Los Angeles. This band was called The Brat – consisting of frontwoman Teresa Covarrubia, alternating lead/rhythm guitarists Rudy and Sidney Medina (an uncle/nephew duo), Tito Larriva, and Exene Cervenka. Hailing from an area with a high Hispanic and Latino population, they soon became one of the most influential but lesser-known Chicano rock bands of this era. While they were relatively short-lived – disbanding in 1985 – The Brat was only able to release one five-song EP titled Attitudes via indie label Fatima Records. That is, until its first-ever physical reissue via Radiation Records this past May. With an additional eight unreleased bonus tracks, this marked The Brats’ first-ever album release titled Attitudes LP. 

Though Attitudes LP isn’t a relatively new release, it will no doubt introduce a new generation to its genius with its streaming debut. Despite the original cuts being almost forty-five years old, the record proves classic pop punk rock is still needed. Attitudes LP feels too modern to have been released so long ago – having a modern alt freshness while also still giving listeners the needed crunch – topping it all off with its iconic Chicano roots as a whipped cream with cherry-on-top aftertaste. Covarrubias’ vocals are reminiscent of the female frontwomen that reigned in 80s pop charts. She is the backbone of the band, giving a brief but intense energy almost evocative of Pat Benatar, Debora Iyall, and the melodic poise of Cyndi Lauper. One performance highlight by Covarrubias is in “The Cry (Life Without Translation) in which you can practically visualize the fun, energy, and pure pop-punk rawness that would have been emulated from her if the track was given a corresponding music video. 

As for the musicality, Attitudes LP relies heavily on its swift but decisive guitar licks swirling back and around its accompanying drum tracks. Produced by Yolanda Comparan Ferrer (Fatima Records founder), listeners can only wonder why she herself was not responsible for the pop-punk reign in the 2000s, providing the modern taste needed to bring the record together. It is also very clear that The Brat takes incredible pride in their Hispanic/Latin roots which comes out at unexpected and yet perfect moments, most notably in the opening track “Swift Moves” which perfectly opens the record and gives the listener exactly what they need to know before going any further. 

While The Brat uses Attitudes LP as a way to take extensive pride in its heritage and show off what had been done at performances that were only seen at a handful of backyards in East LA and opening shows for R.E.M., it also begs you to understand the cultural climate that they were dealing with. The five-piece were victims of extensive corruption and segregation, as they were heavily involved in East LA versus West LA punk rivalries. Fighting against consistent race and class relations during the time led to Eastern artists being excluded from the Western music scene, ultimately causing The Brat to become frustrated with the industry as a whole – disbanding in 1985. Attitudes LP does not hold back from any of this frustrating history, but not as much as listeners may expect. 

The Brat does not beg you to rage, nor beg you to mourn their disbanding and lack of material (though it does leave you wanting more). If anything, they beg you to see them, to visualize, and to appreciate them. Attitudes LP does lack a general direction despite opening the doors to a new and modern generation but nonetheless embodies what could (and should) have been one of the most vital bands of Gen X.


Buy Attitudes LP via Radiation Records here.

Stream Attitudes LP via Spotify and Apple Music

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