KQED Arts: The Best Bay Area Music of 2023

Frightwig, ‘We Need to Talk’ (Label 51 Recordings)

Back in 1983, Deanna Mitchell and Mia d’Bruzzi were just a couple of creative teens running amok in San Francisco’s vibrant, underground punk scene. Realizing they had something — well, a lot — to say, they formed Frightwig, a pre-riot grrrl rallying cry to the furious and disaffected women of America. Long acknowledged as influential to bands like Hole, L7 and Babes in Toyland among many others, the band’s decision to reform this year was a nice surprise. That the album that heralded Frightwig’s return succeeded in being caustic, clever and catchy was a legitimate thrill.

We Need to Talk consistently flings eye-rolls and middle fingers directly at bad men, misogynist policies, unchecked capitalism and even to aging itself. Delightfully, the 11-tracker is also imbued with smatterings of side winks and sharp humor. (And we’re not just talking about the fact that there’s a song here called “My Crotch Does Not Say Go.”) We Need to Talk is the unhinged, unfiltered, all-ages punk rock party we didn’t know we needed in 2023. A cathartic treat indeed. — Rae Alexandra

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