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Oh people in bands, why must you have such thin skin? Someone doesn't think your riot grrl cover band is not the cat's pjs?


Spot on review Eric.

Posted by Jeff | June 12, 2008 11:31 AM

Did this week's letter writer even read what she wrote before sending it to you? It's like a 19-year old's whiteboard screed against her dorm roommate after her midnight snack went missing. Nothing very riot grrl about that!

Posted by Jason Josephes | June 12, 2008 1:16 PM

Rank the S-K records in order of preference. My choice:

The Woods
Dig Me Out
The Hot Rock
One Beat
Call The Doctor

Posted by tallchris | June 12, 2008 1:18 PM

Tallchris at 3: I admire your passion but you are wrong wrong WRONG!

The true order:
1. Dig Me Out
2. One Beat
3. The Hot Rock
4. The Woods
5. Call th Doctor
6. All Hands on the Bad One
7. Sleater-Kinney

Also, have your heard their track on the McSweeney's comp? It's really, really good.

Also, Eric is right about everything.

Posted by David Schmader | June 12, 2008 1:24 PM

When I first read your article, it made me laugh. You stood up for yourself and called bullshit on a band that champions the virtues of getting fucked up and having a party over things like actually getting good at their instruments and writing original songs that are more memorable than the covers in their set list. Having seen them live multiple times, I can honestly say that I just don't get it. They are nice people, and mean well or whatever, but there is a difference between "party band" and "wannabe party band"; file Tacocat under the latter. What separates a legit party band from a wannabe is a matter of execution and delivery. If you are going to play up the whole slop-band gimmick, you had better come with an amount of swagger that forces the crowd to quickly overlook your shortcomings on the musicianship end of things. People seem to really like Tacocat, but you have to wonder if it is BECAUSE they are a bunch of goofy/cute girls [and one dude] fucking around on stage. If this was a band of all dudes, would there be that much appeal?
In regard to Liz Gay's message, I think there is one underlying question that needs to be answered here, and that is:

Why are people so willing to accept mediocrity in music when it is being performed by women, and then feel the need to defend their appreciation for such sub-par music by making it a gender issue? By setting the appreciation/acceptance-bar for music played by women rather low, is that not sexist in itself?

Posted by Bruce | June 12, 2008 1:36 PM

Before reading this letter, I never realized that people asking me if I 'had fun up there' after a set was a patronizing attempt to marginalize me. Now I am retroactively pissed! How dare they?

I mean, yes. I did have fun up there. Thanks for asking.

Posted by flamingbanjo | June 12, 2008 3:02 PM

Telling someone after they've played that they "looked like they were having a lot of fun up there" is an easy way to say a band sucks if they're nice people.

Posted by tallchris | June 12, 2008 3:16 PM

I am so conflicted about this post I don't know where to begin. First, I have to agree with Eric's review of Tacocat , even though they are really sweet, genuine people. They are not any good and should never play shows outside of a house party. However, Grandy's response, and most of the comments are so misguided I felt I must comment.
As someone who has played in numerous bands for 5+ years in the Seattle music community, it's amazing how supposedly progressive people CAN totally overlook the fact that they are active participants in hierarchies that seriously hinder those who are not straight, white men. Got a chick in your band? They will ONLY book you with bands that have a girl. Have a fag in your band? Don't expect to play with "big boy" hardcore shows because those are only for straight guys, but maybe we can slip you on a bill with Team Gina, even though your music is nothing alike. The hip hop community in Seattle tends to be a lot more open minded and diverse.

So kitschy joke bands like Team Gina and Tacocat are covered and given shows due to their novelty status, while serious bands that fall outside of straight, white male parameters are ignored. I think it's great they are doing what they are doing, but the writer of the letter to the editor is talking about something else completely.

Talk about mediocrity in the music scene? Try certain local female bands that are a fucking embarrassment because they do trade in on their looks and no one would have given them another listen if they weren't cute hipster girls. I'm sure they are nice people or whatever, but I can't shake the sickening feeling that other bands with females don't have that much harder of a time being taken serious because of the superficiality. Ditto for "fun" (read: don't take them seriously) queer bands. How many mediocre bands that are friends with higher ups clog up opening slots at Neumo's/Showbox/Chop Suey, but they are members of the boy's club. To say that only undeserving mediocre girl bands get noticed because of looks is a gross mis-characterization. I've seen plenty more awful bands with all guys than I have girls.

This isn't a condemnation of any one writer or weekly or band. I just was shocked to see that so many people in the comments deny that these things take place. Like when you are at load in and the door guy tells you "Girlfriends aren't allowed backstage". This has happened more than once at more than one venue, and this is just one example out of the many I could draw from. Sure their are exceptions (S K, Visqueen, ...) but these prove the rule. Non-conventional bands that succeed in reaching out despite opposition from the status quo.

Maybe there is no real solution (I mean do we enact band Affirmative Action???) but we should at least acknowledge that if you wear the right clothes, gender and sexuality it is a hell of a lot easier to be taken seriously in this town, at least in the music scene.

Posted by no name needed | June 12, 2008 4:04 PM

#7: Oh, I know. It's right up there with "nice set" or "you guys sounded tight." Nice ways of sounding like you're paying a compliment without actually saying you liked it (I'd love to see a bunch of these damning-with-faint-praise comments compiled. I think they're hilarious.)

But also, it's just one of those inane but mostly harmless things people say when they're trying to fill up air. There's no point in getting upset about it. If people are there paying a cover to see me play I consider that a position of privilege and I am grateful. If it ain't everybody's cup of tea, well that's life in the big city.

And yeah, scenesters are cliquish, trendy and unfair. That's why they're scenesters.

Posted by flamingbanjo | June 12, 2008 4:51 PM

I agree with the "level playing field" sentiments. I'm a chick guitarist and I don't feel like my band gets any sort of advantage because I'm not all that cute and I care more about rocking the fuck out than how I look. It is frustrating when other bands with girls do get a leg up because of the novelty/cute factor, especially when I work hard to be a good musician and they (whoever "they" are) work hard on their make-up, outfits and popularity.

There are plenty of amazing female musicians in Seattle - they just don't advertise themselves as such, probably in order to not be instantly shuffled into the Girl Band pile and assumed to be mediocre musicians.

Posted by JJ Hellgate | June 12, 2008 5:32 PM

good point, but i think you misunderstood my intention. it wasn't to say those of a disenfranchised group want to be a member of the "scene". history has shown that these groups would rather form their own scenes, only to have the more "mainstream" scene co-opt their ideas, styles, etc... for example, at least madonna admits to stealing wholesale from gay culture.
i only wanted to point out the sad state of affairs that others in this thread are apparently ignorant of: you are "the man" and you don't care.

Posted by nnn | June 12, 2008 5:36 PM

Rather, Gang of Four is no Coconut Coolouts. We eat way more pizza than those dudes.

Posted by Harry Steamsystem | June 12, 2008 5:39 PM

"Have a fag in your band? Don't expect to play with "big boy" hardcore shows because those are only for straight guys, but maybe we can slip you on a bill with Team Gina, even though your music is nothing alike."

do people really feel this way? as a fag whose been in a few different bands that typically cater to the "big boy" hardcore audience, i've always been somewhat stunned by how difficult it can be to get a foot in the door of the underground gay music community. Homo-A-Go-Go never replied to any of my emails.

i love the straights and all, but i'd certainly love to play to more homos.

Posted by brian cook | June 12, 2008 6:44 PM

Wow, you are really bad at taking criticism. Way to rally the troops!

I was at a TacocaT show at the Comet where they talked shit about you from the stage. Go obsess over it somewhere public with lots of angry internet socially awkwards for support.

TacocaT has two feminist cover songs in a set of ten and somehow those riot grrrl songs are the ones they're basing their set around? That makes no sense. They may completely agree with the messages of these songs, but that doesn't mean they therefore want their band to be a riot grrrl band about feminism. The Sex Pistols covered Sinatra's "My Way" and the song fit their band's message, but did people then actually expect them to go beyond that one song in their emulation of Sinatra?

TacocaT, like the Coolouts, are in no way trying to be a political band, and to write a column about them in which you choose to assume they are based on no evidence is bad journalism.

I don't think this band is mediocre at all, and the commenters on this post are making a number of assumptions based on statements that weren't in my actual letter. Learn to read is all I can say. This has nothing to do with MY personal band not getting recognition. We are not good and barely leave the living room.

Sure I wrote that other letter. The Stranger's always had some blatantly gender-biased music writers, male and female. Jennifer Maerz was interviewed on Audioasis stating that she didn't listen to many female musicians and Kathleen Wilson wrote in a review of Sleater-Kinney that she didn't like female vocalists. How can you not get upset about that?

You can try to paint me as some kind of crazy feminist stalking the Stranger, but I think that shows you have more of an issue with opinionated women than anything. How can you praise Bikini Kill & S-K for being outspoken while dismissing me because I've brought this up before?

I feel strongly about the way women are represented in the alternative papers out here because what's the point of having an alternative paper if you are going to ignore issues that affect women, minorities, and gays? You're great with the last two, while ridiculing the first or denying it even exists. It's like 60s all over again. Or the print version of a Spike Lee film.

Posted by liz | June 12, 2008 8:33 PM

hey brian-
we should exchange info then because i have found the exact opposite. band members quitting because they don't want to play a "pride" night and other weird nonsense.
i'm glad you got in the boys club, but i'd rather start my own.

Posted by nnn | June 12, 2008 9:29 PM


all i know is when i first heard tacocat i fucking fell in L-U-V with their original songs. their shit make me smile.

i think they write great fun dumb punk songs, and put on a fun show.

over thinking EVERYTHING is boring.

SO fuck all you all, i'm gonna go listen to their new album again!

and then maybe i'll pull out my Steaming Wolf Penis CD.

Posted by brianmyfatass | June 12, 2008 9:47 PM

more power to ya. am i invited?

Posted by brian cook | June 12, 2008 10:16 PM

@16, you should have left "CD" off the end of your last sentence.

Posted by Paulus | June 12, 2008 11:05 PM

I have it on good word that the success of the Coolouts is based on Lacey's quick wit and charm. Plus, and this part helps a bunch, all the dudes in that band are total pussaaaaay slayers.

It's true!

Posted by I'm a Nuclear Bomb | June 12, 2008 11:23 PM
Posted by brianmyfatass | June 12, 2008 11:34 PM

damn straight. Iím gonna hold you to that.

Posted by nnn | June 12, 2008 11:51 PM

from #8:
"First, I have to agree with Eric's review of Tacocat , even though they are really sweet, genuine people. They are not any good and should never play shows outside of a house party."

I have to respond to this- the "good" factor. Is there some musical test that needs to be passed before you're allowed to play out? Bookers don't think so. Neither do fans. Plenty of amazing musicians have bored me off my ass. When novices get out there and shake things up it can be fun, even inspiring. I loooove TacocaT. Weird thing is, I went to see them because of a bit I read in the Stranger- and it really stood out, because the Stranger writers (except Schmader) barely notice local girl bands. Now after a year of shows, recording, and a tour they "can't play their instruments". That's bullshit.

and Liz...
when you say our band isn't any good, you'd better not be talking about me or I'll go Grandy on yer ass.

Posted by Jen Gay | June 13, 2008 5:51 PM

Calvin Johnson has been around for how long? We love him, but dude can't even play guitar and sing at the same time! Yet I've never read a single article in the Stranger ranting about that.

Kate mentioned to me at Christina's party that Pitchfork reviewed a Yo La Tengo cd and referred to them as "two guys (and a girl)," despite the fact that the girl is not only a permanent member, but also a singer in that band.

Did I tell you about how Justin and I went to a store to buy my new amp, and the young hipster guy who helped us first started talking to Justin as though he were the buyer, and when I told him the amp was for me, the guy, who could have asked me anything about music, instead asked Justin, "so do you play music, too?" When he said he didn't, there were no other questions. Funny how when I go to the surf shop with Justin, no one has ever asked me, "so, do you surf, too?" even though I do. But people have asked me," so, have you caught any waves?" while Justin has never been asked that.

I ride my bike 10 miles a day to work on busy city streets, yet read articles in the PI that state that creating more bike lanes in Seattle will benefit the women and children who don't have the guts to ride their bikes in traffic. Yeah, it's not that hard. I learned how to ride when I was 10. Not exactly a challenging sport. Doesn't require spandex and neon.

So even though these incidents might seem like isolated ones, when you run into them at least once a week due to your hobbies, it becomes pretty obvious that there's a major problem in this city. That's why it is so important for journalists to make an effort to change the way people think by writing respectful and challenging articles about these issues. The RI/Boston Newpaper was really good about doing that. There is nothing comparative out here.

Posted by liz | June 13, 2008 11:11 PM

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