When Angelica Garcia was a teenager, her family relocated from East Los Angeles, California to Accomac, Virginia. The move from a predominantly American-Latino community with a thriving music scene to a small town with very few kids her age was brought on by her stepfather’s calling to Episcopalian priesthood.
During her high school years in LA, when attending LACHSA (Los Angeles County High School for the Arts), she was surrounded by hundreds of aspiring musicians.
“That [move to VA] ended up being the most constructive period of my life. I was able to sit down at a piano or a guitar and figure out what I like instead of what everybody was doing,” Garcia says about this part of her life. “I guess it’s pretty easy, when you have a lot of talented friends, to get caught up in everybody else’s projects.”
Accomac was where Garcia recorded her first demos for her debut album “Medicine For Birds.” Garcia captured the sounds of her journey in a Virginian parish house. To build a fuller sound than her MacBook’s GarageBand and traditional instruments would allow, she taped household objects: creaky doors, shoebox percussion, anything that would create the sound she wanted.
Garcia returned to her Pacific hometown on Friday, January 26th. Opening for Lydia Loveless, Garcia performed her tunes at the historic LA venue, the Troubadour. Despite previously touring the country, the Troubadour stop marked the first LA gig that Garcia had done since she was 17. Coincidentally, the last time she performed in LA was also at the Troubadour.
At the venue, when transitioning between songs, she was unafraid to draw the parallels between the Devil and recently elected Donald Trump in her introduction to “The Devil Can Get In”. The angsty song was a soulful reminder of Garcia’s Virginia relocation as well as a 10/10 screw you to the orange “Devil”.
Garcia’s outspokenness on the current political climate is not confined to one-liners about Trump. She recently tweeted, “Does anyone else feel hella uncomfortable promoting their work when the nation is upside down? Yeah. Me too.” The tweet was in response to the release of her music video for “The Devil Can Get In” coinciding with the day of Trump’s inauguration and her conflicting feelings regarding promoting her music and grieving the state of politics.
Angelica’s music is a product of her bi-coastal upbringing. Seamlessly integrating folky guitars and Spanish in the unreleased song “Señor Garcia,” she combines her LA roots with her VA experiences in a way that seems authentically Angelica.
The tracks on “Medicine For Birds” weave country and indie-rock with refreshingly candid lyrics. In her debut single Orange Flower, about a bad first date, she croons, “I went with him to dinner/And didn’t even pay/But then he called me dude the next day,” amongst a drum beat and guitars.
On “Red Moon Rising,” Angelica showcases her knack for writing autobiographical lyrics. “There’s blood from Guanajuato running in grandfather’s veins/It fills the belt he bought from Michoacán, forever etched into his skin.”
Themes of home and family run through Garcia’s material that highlight her experience as a bi-coastal young adult who’s close with her family. The instrumentation on “Medicine for Birds” might be partially country and rock but it is 100 percent Angelica Garcia.
In a music scene that’s predominately white and male, Garcia’s emotive voice and guitar riffs are an excellent reminder that music is for everyone.