Playing on Saturday
This delightful pop-punk duo met when Mr. Bowman played a show with another group at SUNY New Paltz, where Ms. Luciano was a student. The next day, he administered his first-ever stick-and-poke tattoo (a small daisy on her foot), and she convinced him that she wanted to make a music video for his band. That turned out to be the least of it.
“I was like, I don’t want to stand around and film these boys — I want to do that,” recalled Ms. Luciano, who vibrates with spirit and squeals often. “I want to jump around and be stupid onstage. I want to try!”
She had toyed with writing diarylike songs — once, at an open-mike night as a young teenager, she covered Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” on ukulele — but Mr. Bowman, who is appropriately deferential to the talent and charm of his pocket-size partner, played cheerleader.
“I’ll never forget the first time she played an electric guitar,” he said. “She hit a big power chord, and you could see her eyes” — he made explosion sounds. “The whole world changed in that moment. Sparks were flying out of her eyeballs.” Ms. Luciano concurred with a cartoon shriek.
Small-town basement gigs turned to blog buzz and a well-received five-song EP, “Over Easy,” on which Diet Cig established its hallmark: peppy, overdriven anthems that transcend simple trappings on the strength of Ms. Luciano’s expert phrasing and super-specific, pithy, slice-of-life lyrics. On the band’s debut full-length album, “Swear I’m Good at This,” out Friday, nearly every line seems made for LiveJournal or AOL Instant Messenger away messages, if only those services weren’t well before the time of a songwriter who got into rock music after discovering Fall Out Boy on the radio.