The Paranoyds are one of Los Angeles’ best and brightest bands, blending punk energy with a garage-rock drive. The quartet are in the middle of a tour of the Southwest and Pacific Northwest with Seattle pop-punk group Tacocat, with both bands performing at Bootleg Theater on Tuesday, June 25.

If The Paranoyds seem more musically and creatively attuned than a lot of other local musicians, it might be because they’ve known one another for years. “Lexi and I met in preschool, and we’ve been best friends since then,” keyboardist Laila Hashemi says by phone about guitarist Lexi Funston as the group are driving past Wichita Falls, Texas, on tour. “We met [bassist] Staz [Lindes] at Santa Monica High School in the ninth grade. We would play music for fun. We’d write silly songs and put them on Myspace. It didn’t get serious until the band started forming in 2015.”

“This is the first band for the three of us,” Funston says. And yet The Paranoyds didn’t fully come together until drummer David Ruiz joined in 2015. Although Ruiz has sat in with other groups, including filling in as drummer for No-Fi when they were on tour with SadGirl, he modestly describes his past experiences as “nothing noteworthy” and considers The Paranoyds his first real band as well. Like the other members, Ruiz is age 27.

The Paranoyds’ debut album, Carnage Bargain, doesn’t come out until September, so the group’s label, Suicide Squeeze, will release a single in July with one song from the album (“Hungry Sam”) along with a bonus track that is unavailable elsewhere (“Trade Our Sins”). “My hands are so dirty,” Funston intones morbidly on “Hungry Sam” as Hashemi’s circus-y keyboards percolate with a frantic new-wave beat. “It’s about saying too much and how some things you should keep inside,” Funston explains cryptically. “Hungry Sam is not a real person, but all of us can be a real Hungry Sam.”

Suffused with Hashemi’s hazy waves of organ, “Trade Our Sins” is an atypical Paranoyds song. In lieu of the band’s usual grunge-punk attack, “Trade Our Sins” is a fuzz-pop gem as Lindes’ dreamy vocals blend into a hypnotic stop-and-start indie-rock groove. “At the time, I was listening to a lot of The Velvet Underground and Richard Hell,” Lindes recalls about writing the song when she was living in New York City. “I like the more ballad-y stuff The Velvet Underground got away with — poppy but still promiscuous. I was watching a lot of B-horror movies — more like C-horror movies — and [in one] this woman says, ‘Let’s trade our sins.’ I like the idea of this flirtation that’s in a rush or a panic: Let’s tell each other how we feel before it’s too late.”

The Paranoyds; L-to-R, David Ruiz, Staz Lindes, Lexi Funston, Laila Hashemi (Tony Accosta)

Over the past four years, The Paranoyds have released a series of singles and EPs. Their 2017 EP, Eat Their Own, ranges from the doom-ridden goth menace of “Pet Cemetery” and the anxious hard-rock mood swings of “Sleep Paralysis” to more jangly indie-pop tunes like “Freak Out” and such sludgy psychedelic garage-rock epics as “Bear.” But even in a scene where many bands are mixing garage rock and punk, The Paranoyds seem like they’re doing something different. What influenced the group’s unusual twist on these traditional styles?

“I started playing piano when I was like 4. I played classical until I was 14. I took it pretty seriously, but once I was 14 or 15 I didn’t want to do it anymore,” Hashemi says about the rigidity of the classical-music world. “I think I was a teenager and wanted to hang out with my friends. I stopped playing until I started playing with the girls and The Paranoyds were being formed.” Hashemi lists X, The Doors and The B-52s among her inspirations. “I really like the sound of horror-movie organ,” the keyboardist admits.

“I was always a huge Nirvana fan,” says Lindes, who was born in London, England, but moved with her family to Santa Monica when she was 5. The bassist also cites her admiration for Bob Dylan, Hank Williams and musicians on Omaha’s Saddle Creek Records. “The bass lines I like are by Devo,” she adds about the distinctive way the Akron band’s synthesizers would interact with the bass. “The bass lines can be melodic or a steady rhythm. I’m also a huge Motown fan. I like writing melodic grooves.”

“There are a lot of bands that I look up to — The Breeders being a primary one,” Funston says. “I want to write a catchy song that doesn’t sound like anybody else. We’re all fans of Wire and Television,” she adds in appreciation about how both groups experimented with key changes and time signatures.

“I grew up religiously listening to classic rock and hard-rock bands like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin,” Ruiz says. “When I first started playing drums, I really wanted to be a shredder. It wasn’t till later that I learned about other styles.” Currently, his favorite bands include The Spits, Devo and Nirvana. “I take a little bit from everybody. Those are the primary influences. I always wished that I was a jazz drummer, but I didn’t think I was smart enough for that.”

Although The Paranoyds write their own songs, they occasionally cover other material, such as their juiced-up 2016 version of SadGirl’s “Feel Like Shit” and a remake of Devo’s “Gates of Steel.” “We dressed as Devo for Halloween two years ago,” Lindes says about a show in L.A. “We’ve also covered The Offspring’s ‘Come Out and Play’ — we played it at Coachella in 2017. That was pretty surreal,” she says about performing at the festival, receiving “luxury treatment” amid the chaos backstage and wondering to herself, “What are we doing here?”

The Paranoyds went on their first national tour in 2016, when they opened for DIIV. When asked about the band’s current tour with Tacocat, Hashemi says, “It’s going really well. I really like Tacocat’s music. It’s a treat to hear them every night.”

“They’re like the nicest band I’ve ever met,” Ruiz says about Tacocat. “They’re letting us use their drums and their bass amp. They’re all really funny and nice to spend time with.”

“This tour is the first time with Tacocat,” Funston says. “Now we all know the words [to their songs]. It’s been really fun watching them play every night. … It really is a good combination. There’s been a lot of little kids at the all-ages shows. Hopefully we’re inspiring little kids.”

The Paranoyds appear with openers Banny Grove and headliners Tacocat at Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Tues., June 25, 8:30 p.m.; $15. (213) 389-3856, www.bootlegtheater.org.

LA Weekly