Leeds, England D.I.Y. shoepunk duo Kamikaze Girls were formed in 2014 out of the ashes of pop/rock band Hearts & Souls, as singer/guitarist Lucinda Livingstone (who had also played in pop-punk band This City Sleeps) and drummer Conor Dawson decided to continue after the other two members left.
Adopting a new musical style inspired by riot grrrl, shoegaze, and post-rock, they renamed themselves after the Japanese comedy-drama film starring Anna Tsuchiya
. Their self-released eponymous debut single was released in October 2014, and the ambitious Sad EP arrived two years later. Having suffered with depression, anxiety, and PTSD after being robbed at gunpoint in Leeds city center, Livingstone chose to bluntly talk about her mental health issues in her lyrics, hoping to spark conversations about the still-taboo subject. The punk community responded warmly, not just to the subject matter, but to the group's vibrant and powerful music. Combining massive walls of fuzz, melancholic guitar harmonies, brash, snotty vocals, and powerhouse drumming, and reminiscent of acts like Sleater-Kinney
and Touché Amoré
, it was hard to believe that just two people were behind it. The success of the Sad EP led to their signing by respected U.K. indie Big Scary Monsters
, which released their debut full-length album, Seafoam, in 2017. Boasting vastly improved production values, it included the raucous single "Berlin." ~ John D. Buchanan