The Like: this LA-based four-piece are immaculately upbeat, think quick-step pop, with bad girl lyrics. They are the jingle jangle, the everything that’s so almost-wholesome in a 60s kinda way, and each and every one of their riffs plants itself – oh-so-firmly – in your head for weeks at a stretch.
They’ve supported The Strokes, and opened for Muse and the Arctic Monkeys, and their latest effort Release Me, produced by the seemingly omniscient Mark Ronson with a touch of help from the likes of The Dap Kings’ Homer Steinweiss among others, has been on repeat in the RUSSH office since its release last year.
Tennessee Thomas, The Like’s drummer and one of the founding members, loves a Neapolitan shake from In-N-Out, collects 45s cases in lieu of purses and haunts op-shops for the perfect mini. When we speak to her, she’s “alright”, no, she’s “oh so fabulous” and in her bedroom in LA.
What is the difference like and love?
Well I feel 'like' is a bit more useful and playful, a little bit less serious. It's got a sense of humour. You don't want to blow it all on love too soon. You can like lots of things before you choose which one you are going to love. But maybe, eventually, it will turn to love.
So love is like the grown up version of like?
I think it is, yeah.
Can you run us through five things you like right now?
I'm really into milkshakes.
What flavour makes the top of your list?
Chocolate … or strawberry. Actually, there is a fast food chain here in LA called In-N-Out. It's a bit of a favourite with people all over the world, there is always a really long line. It's really good quality. But they have a Neapolitan shake, which is strawberry, vanilla and chocolate all swirled around. You can't really beat that.
Is it worth the wait?
Oh, yes! I've been going there a bit too frequently … my new year's resolution is to maybe chill out on the milkshakes a bit.
... Um, what else do I like?
I'm sort of collecting 45s cases, you know, to carry your little records. I've been collecting 45s and I'm now collecting boxes to keep them in and also using them as purses.
What else have we got? What else do I really like?
I've just had my nails painted, this is crazy, pale pink with yellow smiley faces on them. There is a place that does nail art here and I've been going and really just asking for the stupidest things and they actually do it, which is quite exciting.
How often do you go there?
Only on special occasions, I had a friend visiting from the UK so we went a couple of days ago. It's very exciting. Actually that’s one of the best things about LA: you only really go out and do things when you have friends visiting and then you can just act like you're on holiday. LA's quite a holiday location. It doesn't really seem like a real place to live. I've lived here for 12 years and have not lost my English accent because I'm in complete denial that it’s a real place.
So when you are taking someone out to see the sites of LA, where are the first places you stop off at?
Well, there is In-N-Out. Obviously. And after you have gone to In-N-Out, Disneyland. Which is the best place ever; it's kind of flawless as far as theme parks go. And then you go down to the beach, which is really nice. Venice Beach or Malibu, there are some delicious restaurants. And there is a place called the Griffith Park Observatory, [which was] in Rebel Without A Cause with James Dean. They have like a planetarium and they have star shows where it all lights up. It’s beautiful, at sunset it’s up on the hill in Griffith Park right by the Hollywood sign and you can see the whole city. The sun's setting right now and it's very beautiful here when the sun sets. We have good sunsets.
How do you like to end the day?
Where do like to go after dark? It's quite nice when people visit; there are lots of nice hotels and nice hotel bars. That's quite fun, like up on the Sunset Strip. You kind of feel a bit silly going and hanging out in hotels when you actually live somewhere but if somebody's staying in one of them you can make an excuse. There are also lots of really good vintage shops here and flea markets.
What's always the first thing you go for in a vintage shop?
I am pretty much in the mini dress area immediately, hoping to find another version of the same dress that I have already got about ten of. Yesterday I found this incredible hound’s-tooth suit, with a little jacket and a pencil skirt that I've been looking for a while because there was a picture of The Supremes all wearing one so I obviously I decided I needed one.
Who would say are your top three style icons?
I'd say Françoise Hardy. Definitely. I just found a pair of sunglasses that I'd been kind of looking for, without realising. There is a picture of her, wearing a trench coat with a little camera and she's wearing these really square, white sunglasses. And I saw them in a shop and thought 'OMG they are THE sunglasses' and they were dead-set 60s ones and I got home and went online and pulled up the picture and, sure enough, they were exactly the same. I've unfortunately now misplaced them. But I'm hoping there just in a bag or something, I was really freaking out before, thinking ‘Oh I've spent my whole life trying to find them and now I've lost them!’
And, I think The Ronettes have had quite an effect in the hair department.
And the third? It’s probably a tie between Anna Karina and Jane Birkin. I always carry a wicker basket like the Birkin basket. But then a friend on my birthday just gave me actually one of my top five favourite things; a velvet bunny rabbit handbag. It sort of looks like a dead rabbit when you hold it; there's this chain that comes from the scruff of its neck and its very long and black and velvety and ideal and looks like your just carrying around a little toy. But it's quite reminiscent of the little sausage dog bag Anna Karina carried around in Pierrot Le Feu.
And before we let you go, what do you love most abut doing what you do?
Oh I love every part of it. I mean it’s a total dream come true. It’s like the band of my dreams, you know, and being able to travel around and being to get away with it on a daily basis is pretty mind-boggling. I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to get a way with it. But for the moment I'm really appreciative of every aspect and getting to play with all your favourite bands and seeing the world and having three best friends share it with you, it's kind of ideal.