Cape Cod based singer, songwriter and storyteller Tianna Esperanza, granddaughter of seminal punk icon Paloma (“Palmolive”) McLardy — of the female punk groups the Slits and the Raincoats — made her musical debut this year with three searing punk singles of her own. The most recent, “Princess Slit and the Raincoat Prince,” is a quick and gritty tune that honors her rebellious and cool abuela and is filled with Debbie Harry-like vocals and an insatiable energy.
“I am so proud to have been raised around such bad-ass women like The Slits and Raincoats,” Esperanza says. “I wanted to write a song that was an homage to my punk roots and one that celebrates queerness.”
Light-footed drums march ahead of a frantic arrangement of guitars and bass while Esperanza’s vocals dance playfully along to a boundless melody. At less than 2 minutes long, the single comes and goes unceremoniously but not without style or memorability.
Accompanied by a music video, directed by Peter Collins Campbell, Esperanza and her friends can be seen frolicking indoors and then amping up the energy by smashing through the walls and tumbling onto a nearby golf course all while continuing to party. After a chaotic road trip on a golf cart, the video ends after dark with them looking upward at brightly lit skyscrapers, a peaceful and hopeful ending after a day of anarchic fun.
The third single from her upcoming debut album for BMG, “Princess Slit and the Raincoat Prince” follows “Terror” and “Lewis,” both introspective and heavily textured tracks with deep, confronting lyrics. “Terror” starts out ethereal with piercing vocals draped carefully like a colored cloth shading a lamp. Then it takes a hard left, with gravely and distorted vocals that sound like something straight out of Danger Mouse‘s experimental Dark Night of the Soul album — Esperanza’s vocals contorted not unlike Danger Mouse’s guest singer on Dark Night of the Soul, David Lynch. “Lewis” on the other hand, is intricately layered with resounding lyrics and verses recited with a spoken poetry cadence and strung together with a cool and collective chorus. Words of wisdom shine like individual pearls on a breathtaking necklace as Esperanza polishes them off with a warm confidence.
With a sound that ranges from 80s punk to Nikki Giovani and Erykah Badu, Esperanza is captivating from start to finish — her wise lyrics breaking over shifting rhythms. Keep an eye out for more details and more music to come from Tianna Esperanza.
Words: Patti Sanchez