Drag Your Needle in the Grooves Today: Tacocat’s Lost Time & Bleached’s Welcome the Worms

Earlier this month one of the best and most iconic albums of my generation, Gen X, turned twenty-five years old. I’m referring to the tribute group and record Temple of the Dog. Assembled were the soon to be ultra famous members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam to record a tribute to the recently deceased Andy Wood, lead singer of Mother Love Bone.

I never really enjoyed Mother Lover Bone (though ‘Stardog Champion’ had a place in my rotation as a early teen). But I remember discovering Soundgarden, hearing Chris Cornell’s voice, and immediately feeling astonished. His was a wolf of a voice, it sent chills through me and made me at once envious and devoted to his music.

In the process of listening to Temple of the Dog again and remembering the stuff I was doing as a fifteen-year old navigating a style between grunge and goth while ingesting any and all drugs I could get my hands on so as to numb the existential pain of living in western Wisconsin, I began to assemble a list of my all-time 90s albums. Don’t worry, I’ll probably post that in some fashion in the future. I realized I had to divide the decade up into two sections–high school and college.

There are exclusively college albums and there are exclusively high school records. Sometimes an artist or band comes with you through both stages of development, but that’s a rarity. Music mattered for me growing up more than most things. It was the means through which I could escape and endure. Later, in college, I shifted from music exclusively to literature and storytelling.

I don’t need to go into how delicate and complex teen identity was and still is. My point is that while delving into YouTube videos and interviews and scrounging through availability on Spotify, I realized that my aesthetic still has some firm holdovers from that time. Specifcially, my then quiet embrace of RiotGrrl music.

tacocat

I’ve recently discovered the Seattle band Tacocat. This is a truly fabulous rock band. Just before Tacocat’s latest album Lost Time began being my default headphone go to, I had been reveling in Welcome the Worms by Los Angeles-based Bleached. I realized during my 90s list compilation, the reason I loved the songs on these albums was because I still get an inordinate joy from listening to Veruca Salt’s American Thighs and University by Throwing Muses.

DOC105

Those two albums were my transition albums from high school into college. They were safety albums, records that made me feel alive, energetic and in my own new adult world. Thinking about that now, the naivety just astounds me, but that’s the nature of time. My point here is not to get nostalgic or to do a comparison, rather to just give a grounding.

Listening to Lost Time, it’s swirl of Kathleen Hanna, pre-pop Liz Phair, as well as Throwing Muses and Veruca Salt, makes me feel that same kind of confidence I did then only now I am a goddamn adult. As a grown-ass man, I’ve found myself dancing stupidly through my house tormenting my cat while singing along to ‘I Love Seattle,’ ‘You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit,’ and ‘Plan A, Plan B.’

But it’s tracks like ‘The Internet’ where Emily Nokes takes to task the toxic masculinity pervading nearly all social media that really seem at once simple yet poignant,

Hate from the basement
Hate from the insecure
When you’re anonymous
No consequence to fear
Your place is so low
You’re my mosquito
No conversation only vitriol takes to task 

This is what the best kind of punk rock does, lyrics that aren’t overly clever delivered with a biting, catchy clarity. The same is true of the rather sober ‘Talk,’ the topical ‘Men Explain Things to Me,’ and the irresistible ‘Leisure Bees,’ which offers rock gems of wisdom,

Sleep in and take the bus
Explain to your parents
Why you’re childless
Friends mean more than anything
Never feel the need to sting

Take your time because
It’s your time to take
And the values that you want
Are the ones that you can make

My Powerpuff self looks forward to hearing Tacocat’s theme song reboot.

animated

Which leads me down the coast to the band Bleached.

This band has a harder edge to it than Tacocat but it’s all of a kind. I first encountered this band in 2013 when I was putting ‘Dead In Your Head’ from their Ride Your Heart album on every playlist I made.

‘Wednesday Night Melody’ is the Weezer song that Weezer could never quite write mostly because it’s a wonderfully teasing and endearing take on boyishness as the chorus makes clear, 

Go boy, dry your eyes
It’s good to feel just a little alive
Drag your needle in the grooves today
And waste away
Yeah, waste away
C’mon boy, dry your eyes
It’s good to feel just a little alive
Drag your needle in the grooves today
And waste away
Just waste away

This is something to note because most Southern California pop-punk and emo is essentially grown-ass men unapologetic about their continuing adolescent understanding of life. So when Bleached is able to master beach rock and sprinkle pop-punk/emo tropes into their tunes while creatively subverting expectations, we get a band that exceeds its multiple genres. Sour Candy has a quasi-Go-Gos feel to it while the very next track, Desolate Town, would be something I think L7 would approve of.

I’m enamored of both of these albums. I find that what is drawing me to them are all of the shared and best qualities of the high school-to-college music I listened to more than twenty years ago. 

The energy of each of these albums, the bands’ absolute confidence, and the creative variation in their styles of punk rock make Tacocat’s Lost Time and Bleached’s Welcome The Worms two of the best albums of the year.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Drag Your Needle in the Grooves Today: Tacocat’s Lost Time & Bleached’s Welcome the Worms

  1. I was born in 1989. So while I grew up on MTV, I was drawn to the pop rather than the punk of that era. But in my 20s, I’ve started discovering the great women rock bands of the 90s. I love Throwing Muses and Veruca Salt. I also enjoy Tacocat and the feminism of their music today. They are keeping the 90s spirit alive. Don’t get me started on Chris Cornell. One of the greatest voices of all time. I’m definitely going to listen to the albums in this post.

  2. Pingback: Best of 2016: Music | Misanthropester

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s