Most of the stories that have been written about California band Cherry Glazerr in the last year get hung up on the fact that two of its three members – vocalist and guitarist Clementine Creevy and drummer Hannah Uribe – are still in high school.
“I’m sort of worried about people taking pity, like, ‘They’re really good for being 17,’ ” Creevy said. “I’d rather talk about how I came up with a particular riff, or Hannah’s favorite drum kit or whatever. I’m sort of dreading it when walking into an interview. It’s like, ‘Here we go. They’re going to ask how old we are, and then we’re going to have to talk about the SATs.’ They love that, and I don’t know why.”
Besides, she says, bassist Sean Redman is 23, so it’s not fair to brand them a teenage act.
But it’s hard not to be impressed by Cherry Glazerr’s accomplishments at a relatively young age. The L.A. three-piece (they’re named after California public radio personality Chery Glaser) were signed by wax-and-tape label Burger Records before they’d ever played a live show. And while they’ve never officially toured until now, they recently played at an after party for an Yves Saint Laurent fashion show in Paris.
Creevy first gained notoriety for a series of bedroom recordings, some of which later became Cherry Glazerr songs, that she uploaded online under the name Clembutt. Burger came across her SoundCloud account and liked what they heard, and soon Creevy had formed the band with Uribe (a school friend) and Redman (her boyfriend).
“I was sort of longing for it; I wanted to be a band,” she said. “I wanted to have more of a collaborative group of people around me, and it was really nice to have a drummer and a bass player. It was an easy transition.”
Cherry Glazerr’s album “Haxel Princess,” released in 2013, runs no longer than 25 minutes, a collection of 10 grungy, lo-fi mini teenage symphonies that recall sleepy, stoned afternoons and hormone-fueled evenings at downtown rock clubs.
Creevy’s lyrics are rooted in the mundane details of teenage life in Los Angeles, some of which are so particular that they have to be autobiographical. On “Bloody Bandaid,” she fantasizes about a rocker guy (“I’ve got the pin that your band made”) and about dates involving Powerpuff Girls, pizza and going to shows at L.A. venue the Smell, and in “White’s Not My Color This Evening,” she’s stuck at a party with menstrual cramps (“When’s this going to go away? / I have all these crazy pains”).
“I usually am writing about something specific that happened to me, but it varies,” Creevy said. “I guess I was feeling more introverted when I was writing (the song “Haxel Princess”), and it’s more introspective. It’s about gay kids getting bullied at school, so it dives deeper into more serious issues. So it kind of varies – things are light and frothy, like ‘Grilled Cheese,’ which is literally just about a sandwich.”
Amid the modest tableaus of smoky house parties and sticky summer nights, the song on “Haxel Princess” that comes closest to approaching a statement is “Teenage Girl.” In between lyrics about “sneaking cigarettes at lunch time,” “pink sparkly sunglasses lying by the pool” and Rob Kardashian, Creevy casually sneaks in something of a mantra: “Don’t make us feel belittled, world.”
“I’m talking specifically about teenage girls in the music industry,” Creevy said. “Trying to break out can be kind of hard sometimes.”
As a 17-year-old in the cutthroat, male-dominated indie rock scene, Creevy says she’s wary of being either coddled or sneered at. Before the band’s very first show, opening for their label mates Hunx and His Punx, she recalls one of the engineers warning her about using the venue’s microphones.
“And he goes, ‘Well, I don’t know if you want to use this mic, because a lot of old, real punk rock guys have used it, and you might be grossed out by it,’ ” she said. “And I’m like, ‘I’m fine. I can sing out of your dirty mic.’ My mic is probably dirtier than yours.”