Tacocat, Black Belt Eagle Scout

Tacocat

Black Belt Eagle Scout

Sun, November 18, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$12.00 - $14.00

This event is 21 and over

Tacocat
Tacocat
Like a fluorescent-lit snack-aisle oasis in some desolate interstate road stop, brimming with Skittles and limited-edition Sno Balls, Tacocat's Easter-egg-hued pop-punk-pop is bubblegum-sticky with hooks, bound to brighten up the most drab stretch of bummer backroad.

The band's four-person, seven-layer-burrito came together organically: Lelah Maupin (drums) and Eric Randall (guitar) met in their native Longview, WA—two hours south of Seattle, the very town that Green Day named their breakout debut single after. Lelah's family room was wallpapered with framed Magic Eye posters, hence "Stereogram," the cross-eyed love letter to that bizarre '90s optical fad. She met lanky Eric while both worked at Safeway, wearing the chain's distinctive navy aprons before breaking north to Seattle. Eric's band The Trashies practiced and played in the basement of the 24/7 House in the Central District, where Long Beach, CA native Bree McKenna (bass) was living, amongst the dust, boxes, and spiders. Lelah met Butte, MT native Emily Nokes (voice, tambourine) in one excruciatingly early/boring graphic design class, slipping her a doodled-upon note; she soon noticed Emily's big voice while she sang along with R. Kelly on the radio. Emily and Bree hit it off one sloshy night at the Comet. Eric impressed Emily with his reenactments of scenes from Anaconda. Sometime around 2007, via countless raucous house party shows, the legend of Tacocat was born.

The foursome would quickly make a name for themselves with their simply energizing power pop, drawing on classic Northwest energy with an uncommonly upbeat, surfy swag that could only come from gray skies and hydroponic sunshine. Their sly and unabashed '90s revivalism has, in the past, found the band pondering Evan Dando and Waterworld—and Bree herself explains finding about riot grrrl via Napster and Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You. They've described themselves variously as "Feminist sci-fi" and "Equal parts Kurt and Courtney"; oh well, whatever…NVM.

NVM—Tacocat's second full-length album and first for Hardly Art, opens up like some mystery shoebox, wistful, instantly nostalgic: snapshots of mortifying exes ("You Never Came Back") and sketchy party situations ("Party Trap"), maybe a postcard with an alien smoking a joint. Cigarette cellophane-wrapped weed nugs, pain pill crumbs and wrapped tampons ("all the girls are surfing the wave, surfing the crimson wave today"), all serve as a roadmap through Tacocat's bong-ripped reminiscences, scenarios all-too familiar and hilariously improbable. There's the notoriously inconsistent #8 Metro line ("F.U. #8") and the accountability-allergic, black-clad brick-heavers of "This Is Anarchy." The protagonist of "Psychedelic Quinceañera"—based on Bree—just wants to dance with rainbows, mind-expansion style, instead of having to wear a frilly dress in front of her whole family. Emily daydreams of a "Bridge to Hawaii," where even the destitute could walk their asses to paradise—before being snapped out of it by cat-calls from construction workers, business dads, and drunk hobos ("Hey Girl"); sweaty jerks telling her that she should smile!

NVM all that, though: you should, and will, smile—either a wry little corner-lifter or a big ear-to-ear equator—and shake what's yours, when you hear the whippet-smart latest album from the world's favorite palindromic band. Text a friend.
Black Belt Eagle Scout
Black Belt Eagle Scout
“Having this identity—radical indigenous queer feminist—keeps me going. My music and my identity come from the same foundation of being a Native woman.” Katherine Paul is Black Belt Eagle Scout, and after releasing an EP in 2014 Paul has wrapped up the band’s first full-length. Recorded in the middle of winter near her hometown in Northwest Washington, the landscape’s eerie beauty and Paul’s connection to it are palpable on Mother of My Children. Stemming from this place, the album traces the full spectrum of confronting buried feelings and the loss of what life was supposed to look like.

Paul grew up in a small Indian reservation, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, surrounded by family focused on native drumming, singing, and arts. “Indigenous music is the foundation for all of my music,” Paul explains. From an early age, Paul was singing and dancing at powwows with one of her strongest memories at her family’s own powwow, called the All My Relations Powwow. Paul reminisces, “When I was younger, my only form of music was through the songs my ancestors taught the generations of my family. Singing in our language is a spiritual process and it carries on through me in how I create music today.”

With the support of her family and a handful of bootleg Hole and Nirvana VHS tapes, Paul taught herself how to play guitar and drums as a teenager. In 2007, Paul moved to Portland, OR, to attend college and get involved with the Rock’n’Roll Camp for Girls. Inspired by Riot Grrrl and Post-Rock bands like Sleater-Kinney and Do Make Say Think, Paul dove deep into the Portland music scene, playing guitar and drums in a bunch of
bands while evolving her artistry into what would later be Black Belt Eagle Scout.

On Mother of My Children, the songs weave together to capture both the enduring and fleeting experiences of loss, frustration, and dreaming. The structures are traditional, but the lyrics don’t adhere to any format other than what feels right in the moment. “I don’t play music to write songs,” Paul explains, “I play music to process feelings, and sometimes what comes out of that is a song.” Paired with Paul’s clear and measured voice, each song leaves the listener feeling as if they were there when the song was written, the immediate, candid emotion tangible.

The album begins with the singles “Soft Stud” and “Indians Never Die.” Paul calls “Soft Stud” her “queer anthem,” saying that it is “about the hardships of queer desire within an open relationship, which I think a lot of the queer community can relate to.” The choruses in the song start soft with lyrics, “need you, want you, I know you’re taken” and develop into louder choruses and heavy guitar solos.

When reflecting more on her writing process, Paul admits “I wrote this album in the fall of 2016 after two pretty big losses in my life. My mentor, Geneviève Castrée, had just died from pancreatic cancer and the relationship I had with the first women I loved had drastically lessened and changed.” Heavy and heartbroken, Paul found respite from the weight of such loss in the creation of these songs that “are about grief and love for people,” she says, “but also about being a native person in what is the United States today.”

As Standing Rock was happening, many people in Paul’s life were coming together and fighting for the most basic thing necessary to sustain human life: water. “Our treaty rights weren’t being honored,” Paul laments, “Imagine hearing on the news that the government doesn’t support you as a human being and never has.” Paul goes on stating, “’Indians Never Die’ is a call out to colonizers and those who don’t respect the Earth; they don’t care about the water, they don’t care about how they are destroying what is around them. Indigenous people are the protectors of this land. Indians never die because this is our land that we will forever protect in the present and the afterlife.”

The album in itself is sprinkled with guitar solos, some heavy and some woven hooks. “Just Lie Down” starts with a heavy nature of distorted feedback and wild drums that sound like violent waves on a rainy coastal night. The song embodies what anger looks like when mixed with sadness. Lyrics like, “You aren’t yourself, what’s wrong, it’s in your head, it’s in your heart” are what Paul calls, “a point in grief where you don’t feel at all like yourself and you wonder if you’re going mad. The stage of grief and sadness that turns to anger, while it is a terrible thing, can also bring out a sense of relief that the process is coming to a healing point soon.”

Mother of My Children is a life chapter gently preserved, and the access listeners have to such vulnerability feels special and generous. We are left wanting more, and all signs point to Black Belt Eagle Scout just getting started.
Venue Information:
The Shakedown
1212 N. State St
Bellingham, WA, 98225
http://shakedownbellingham.com/