2023 albums you shouldn’t have missed: The Aquadolls ‘Charmed’

2023 albums you shouldn’t have missed: The Aquadolls ‘Charmed’
Photo cred: @_kotoko

The Aquadolls debuted their Charmed album over this past year (and yes, it’s named after the popular ‘90s/‘00s TV show). Channeling 80s and 90s vibes, it’s a punk rock-slamming compilation of smooth, yet gritty guitar riffs… very reminiscent of The Breeders and Sonic Youth.

It’s a pinnacle album, featuring females than can rock out like the guys can!

The Aquadolls have got that ‘Courtney Love’ gutsy indifference; they’re badass and addictive by nature. Since their release of The Dream and Deception, the band has made some serious moves forward, performing with artists like Kate Nash, Pennywise, and Jimmy Eat World. They’ve also been featured on major festival lineups, like Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Warped Tour, and a pair of appearances at Eddie Vedder’s Ohana Festival. The Los Angeles-based band spent the summer of ’22 on the road with Incubus and Sublime with Rome, too! It’s clear they have that ‘it’ factor! 

Charmed is 100% alluring and addictive. Each of the nine tracks take listeners on a different journey, speaking to band member experiences of love, sex, and life. The album will literally Charm you; it’s fully-loaded with serious shreds that I am obsessed with!  My personal favorites are “Cut Throat” and “”Burn Baby Burn” — energetic and tough. “Cut Throat” is the last track on the album, cunning with deliberate angst. I also absolutely love “Sneaky”, a song that takes you straight back to the 90s (my favorite music era, for sure)m while “Any Place But Here” is sweet, telling you to pause on the crazy rat race.

The evolution of their music is extraordinary.

In only three albums, the band has become well-known in the music industry. The Aquadolls’ unique sound and relatable lyrics have garnered them a mass following, always promoting their ethos of self-love and positive energy. That is so needed in this world full of darkness! Charmed is truly an original masterpiece; it hooks you in. The Aquadolls are comfortable in their skin — transparently honest. As the band continues to be a bellwether for women in the industry, we got a chance to chat with vocalist and guitarist Melissa Brooks about her drive and momentum, and (of course) the latest album.

How did ‘Charmed’ come about?

  • MB: We finally got to create an album as the three of us and write all together in the studio! We are inspired by all our personal experiences and combine all of our music tastes into a melting pot of glittery rock. 

About time! How long have you three been The Aquadolls anyway?

  • I met Jackie by helping record her previous band and I met Keilah at a show I threw a few years back! We all started jamming together in 2018!

What’s the main theme running through the latest album?

  • All kinds of love… whether it’s platonic/friendship love, romantic love, self-love, and the magic that comes from these interactions. 

What influences do you draw from musically?

  • The chaos of my mind paired with my chaotic music taste, ranging from early 2000s pop, grunge rock of the 90s, harmonies from the 60s, wall of sound bands… [it all] influences our music. 

Where are you from? Did this influence your music?

  • Growing up in Los Angeles inspired me, as I’m constantly surrounded by lots of musicians in the local area. We also have a tinge of SoCal beach elements on our surfer songs.

Tell us about the process making the album…

  • Every project is different, collaboration-wise, but for Charmed, the three of us were in the studio with Chris Szczech! He recorded us in his studio in Boyle Heights, with his two furry companions (the sweetest doggies ever)! The recording process took two weeks: going to the studio in the morning and leaving at 9pm every day for two weeks!

Dang, those are long days! Let’s talk about some songs on the album, like “Far Far Away”…

  • This song is about the struggles of living the 9-5 workforce lifestyle… wanting to break free of these patterns, but realizing the only person who can save you is yourself. 

We def relate. What about “Disappearing Girl”?

  • This song started as a Sonic Youth-inspired guitar loop and then the three of us sat down and cultivated a story and lyrics to bring the song to life! It’s also our first song that features everyone’s vocals, which I personally love. 

What are your favorite tracks to play off the new album?

  • We open our shows on tour with “Burn Baby Burn”, which is such a fun, energetic start to the concert. I love performing “Sneaky”, because we get to scream and it feels so freeing!

Who would your dream collaboration be with?

  • Let’s get Lindsay Lohan to feature in a song! We really want to be involved with the Freaky Friday reboot (*fingers crossed*)!

LOVE IT! Have you had any ‘freaky’ moments in your life…?

  • I once got my hand squeezed by a ghost in the basement of a haunted Italian restaurant!

Dang! That’s next level! Speaking of, what would you say to aspiring artists wanting to get to the next level, professionally?

  • Go for it! You are your harshest critic, so do not be afraid to try new things and experiment with sounds and play any show you can. Life’s too short to take it so seriously, so have fun with it!
  • Also make sure to check out our music videos, come see us on tour, and keep on rocking!

Stream ‘Charmed’ album:

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Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.

Tour dates for the aquadolls

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