Foothill College's Student News Publication

The Foothill Script

Foothill College's Student News Publication

The Foothill Script

Foothill College's Student News Publication

The Foothill Script

Punk Band The Darts Hit The Bullseye With Their KFJC Live Mic 

Vivian Hanna
The Darts mid-performance in “The Pit,” KFJC’s famed stage.

The Foothill College campus is expectedly deserted on a Saturday afternoon. Walking by empty classrooms and a closed cafe is a stark contrast to the usual bustling campus maintained throughout the week. This eerie feeling dissipated as I approached the 6200 building, and a strong drumbeat began to echo from the propped-open side door of the station. After entering the station, any thoughts of the desolate campus are immediately replaced by the excited faces greeting me at the door. While weaving through the station to meet today’s live band and the rest of the staff, I can’t help but be amazed by the floor-to-ceiling shelves of records lining the station. There is barely a wall in sight, with any space free from records being scattered with promotional stickers and posters. There was a distinct energy as I walked from room to room exploring the space, culminating in the sunken stage dubbed “The Pit,” where The Darts were completing their mic checks. More on the band and its members later, but I will say this: the familial dynamic and supportive energy between members was palpable, setting the tone for the rest of the station. 

Guitarist Meliza Jackson during The Darts’ performance.

For those unfamiliar with the institution that is KFJC, let me fill you in. KFJC is a radio station broadcasting from Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California. It had its first broadcast on October 20th, 1959, and has been bringing music to the Bay Area for what will be 65 years this fall. The station was started at the old Foothill College campus in Mountain View but moved with the school to its current location in 1961. The station plays an array of different music with Eric Johnson, the General Manager of the station, describing the air sound as simply “eclectic.” The station is mainly run by volunteers from the community, all of whom have a shared passion for the station and the music. You’re almost guaranteed to hear something new when listening to KFJC, as stated by Johnson: “You’re hearing a little bit of crushing weird guitar or noise experimental that can go into some soul that can go into some punk that can go into some metal.” While the music is ever-changing, one constant over the years is the station’s emphasis on, and dedication to, supporting up-and-coming musicians. Many groups that are now household names played at the station early in their career including Green Day, Nirvana, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and even U2. Today, The Darts are adding their name to this storied list.

Once the band is set up in what KFJC calls “The Pit,” they do one last sound check before being introduced to both the radio and internet broadcast listeners. Opening the set with their song “Disappoint,” the band’s energy is at 11 right away. Lead vocalist and keyboard player, Nicole Laurenne, is almost immediately contorting her body around the room, while still managing to hit every note and cue. The band maintains this energy throughout the next three songs before taking a short break while Nicole talks to the listeners about their band and plugs their new record, Boomerang. This period of respite does not last long, as Nicole swiftly introduces their next song and dedicates it to “everyone who has ever fallen in love with a musician.” The message of the songs may change, but their high-energy, in-your-face performance doesn’t miss a beat. Moving from “The Pit” to the mixing booth during song breaks confirmed that all of the emotion and energy felt in “The Pit” was equally as tangible in the booth and to listeners at home. The Darts kept rocking away, playing a total of 10 songs from a mix of their five albums. After playing their last note and taking their bow, the entire station, including Nicole’s mother Mala who tours with them, erupted in applause. They signed off their live set and the broadcast returned to its regularly scheduled programming. The set may have been over, but the energy they left in their wake hung in the air well beyond their last note.

Lead Singer Nicole Laurenne during the show.

So, who is this mind-blowing “grrrrl” group? The Darts is an all-girl garage-punk band formed in Phoenix, Arizona in the mid-2010s. Described by Belgian Music Blog Turn Up the Volume as “One of the most exciting bands on or off the stage,” the group is the brainchild of Nicole Laurenne and Christina Nunez, two Phoenix-based musicians with a history of playing together. After their last band broke up, they realized they finally had an opportunity to form the all-girl punk band they had always wanted. They got to work finding the best female players in the garage punk scene and ultimately became the band they are today. There are currently four main members: Nicole Laurenne on vocals and keys, Christina Nunez on bass, Meliza Jackson on guitar, and Mary Rose A.K.A “Beef” Gonzales on drums. While they are now scattered all across the U.S., making it hard for them to physically stay connected, their shared goals for the band act like glue for them. As bassist Christina Nunez puts it, “Let’s write songs that we like, let’s have fun, let’s travel, go to places we want to go to, and see the world.” The band’s sound is a mix of surf, punk, and Halloween rock, with their Farfisa keyboard creating the distinct sound of the latter. A Farfisa is a compact electronic organ, produced in a small Italian town in the 1970s. While surprisingly common in garage punk, the company that produced Farfisas stopped production of the instrument in the 80s and now mainly produces doorbells and intercoms. It is an incredibly unique sound that Nicole feels is “really obnoxious” but necessary to “cut through the mix” of distorted guitar and fuzzy bass. Their use of the Farfisa is so well known, that Nicole recalls a show in Italy where they were surprised to walk out to a crowd full of older men. After playing their set they asked around, and the men turned out to be workers from the old Farfisa factory, excited to hear the instrument still being played. 

The band has achieved great success already, with their song “Love U 2 Death” appearing in the soundtrack of the hit BBC show Peaky Blinders, garnering over 600,000 streams on Spotify alone. Their success doesn’t stop there. They often play with established performers Fred Armisen and Drew Carey, and the famed author Steven King calls their music “Very cool.” The new album Boomerang has been highly anticipated as well, with a second pressing of their vinyl already being ordered before the album was released. The band feels like this project is wholly theirs. Christina says: “It’s hard when people are always in your ear like you should do this or you should do that or do it this way and this time it was like none of that and I think it turned out cool.” They wanted to make it completely their own, and that’s exactly what they achieved. Recording the album at Station House Studio in LA over a single weekend with producer Mark Rains allowed the band to have complete creative control over the final product. The passion, care, and creative energy they put into this record is palpable and comes through in every single song.

The first pressing of The Darts’ new album Boomerang, presented in the color ‘blood-orange.’

With the newly released Boomerang, the band is debuting a new sound that is much different from their last record Snake Oil. When asked about favorite tracks off Boomerang, the surprisingly common response was a ballad that concludes the album. The track, “The Middle of Nowhere,” was written by Nicole in “about two minutes,” stating that “it just poured out of [her].” Although the song is a band favorite, don’t expect to hear it on tour any time soon – they’re all about high-energy sets. As for the rest of the album, Christina put it perfectly stating; “With the songs, how we arranged them, with recording, with the art, we kind of did it all on our own without anyone telling us anything. and I’m just proud of the whole situation.”  

The Darts may be an all-female band, but their music is for everyone and you don’t want to miss the chance to see them live in all their energetic glory.  While the band had a substantial European tour for their last album Snake Oil, they are embarking on an even larger one for their new album Boomerang, with 56 shows (and more being added) before Halloween, taking them all across the U.S. and Europe. They recently kicked off their tour in the Bay Area in collaboration with an event hosted by their label – Alternative Tentacles, but there are plenty more dates you can catch. You can check out their music, tour dates, and merch on their website here, as well as stream their new album Boomerang on all major streaming platforms. 

As for KFJC, their 65th birthday is coming up this year, so they’re pulling out all of the stops. They are holding many special events this summer which you can find more information about here, and you can listen to the station online at or (if you’re in the Bay Area) by tuning your radio to 89.7FM.  

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About the Contributors
Isabella Peterson
Isabella Peterson, Managing Editor
Isabella Peterson is a first-year Film and Digital Media major at Foothill College. She plans to transfer to a four-year university but in the meantime, hopes to make her mark at Foothill. She loves anything film and television and aims to inform the Foothill community of the news surrounding it.
Vivian Hanna
Vivian Hanna, Photography Editor
Vivian (she/they) is a second-year student at Foothill, working on transferring to UC Santa Cruz to pursue a Sociology degree. After taking an Intro to Photo class with award-winning Photojournalist and Foothill professor Judith Walgren, her interest in Photojournalism was sparked. With a focus on social documentary and wildlife/nature photography, Vivian hopes to document subjects and topics often overlooked. With the integration of photography into her status multidisciplinary artist, they also hope to increase coverage of the often-overlooked art department here at Foothill!

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  • J

    Jacquie Peterson
    May 4, 2024 at 11:06 am

    Excellent article! Congratulations Bella!

  • G

    May 3, 2024 at 1:15 pm

    Great music coverage!