One of the weirdest things humans do is to classify half of all humans as niche. As though women’s shit isn’t real shit-as though menses and horses and being internet-harassed aren’t as interesting as beer-farts and monster trucks and doing the harassing. That’s why Tacocat is radical: not because a female-driven band is some baffling novelty, but because they’re a group making art about experiences in which gender is both foregrounded and neutralized. This isn’t lady stuff, it’s people stuff. It’s normal. It’s nothing and everything. It’s life.
The four actual best friends-Emily Nokes (vocals, tambourine), Eric Randall (guitar), Lelah Maupin (drums), and Bree McKenna (bass)-came together in their teens and early baby twenties and coalesced into a band eight years ago, and you can feel that they’ve built both their lives, and their sound, together. Hanging out with Tacocat and listening to Tacocat are remarkably similar experiences, like the best party you’ve ever been to, where, instead of jostling for social position, everyone just wants to eat candy and talk about Sassy Magazine, sci-fi, cultural dynamic shifts, and bad experiences with men.
Tacocat’s third studio album, Lost Time (an X-Files reference, doy), is their first with producer Erik Blood. “I would describe him generally as a beautiful wizard,” Nokes said, “who, in our opinion, took the album to the next level. Wizard level.” Blood’s sounds are wide and expansive, bringing a fullness to the band’s familiar sparkling snarl. The Tacocat of Lost Time are triumphantly youthful but also plainspoken and wise, as catchy as they are substantive. “Men Explain Things to Me” eviscerates male condescension with sarcastic surf guitar. On “The Internet,” they swat away trolls with an imperiousness so satisfying you want to transmogrify it into a sheetcake and devour it: “Your place is so low/Human mosquito.”
One of feminism’s biggest hurdles has always been that it isn’t allowed to be fun. Tacocat gives that notion precisely the credence that it deserves, ignoring it altogether and making fun, funny, unselfconscious pop songs about the shit they’re genuinely obsessing or groaning over: Plan B, night swimming, high school horse girls (“they know the different breeds of all their favorite steeds!”), the bridge-and-tunnel bros who turn their neighborhood into a toilet every weekend. And, eight years in, Tacocat have built something bigger than themselves. They’ve fostered a feminist punk scene in Seattle so fertile it’s going national and rendering the notion of the “girl band” even more laughable than it already was. There are no “girl bands” in Seattle anymore. There are just bands and everyone else. “Women,” Nokes jokes. “They’re just like us!”
As a new voice in the crowded world of indie rock, Richmond, Virginia's Sammi Lanzetta is poised to stand out with her debut EP, 'For Avery.' The EP's brisk ten minutes waste no time in introducing her charming collision of raw instrumentation, nervous energy, and confident melodies, marked by the 21-year-old’s ability to communicate a broad range of personality and humanity into concisely catchy tunes. Lanzetta’s dynamic voice, perhaps her greatest tool, darts between soulful, vulnerable, and commanding with ease, perfectly complimenting a conversational lyricism that can often go from angry, to humorous, to heartbreaking, all in the space of a single song.
Lanzetta's mixture of self-effacement and determination is the hallmark of her work, especially as she turned from previous time spent in bands and focused more purposefully on her solo efforts. When one of her close friend's niece was born — Avery — Lanzetta discovered an unintentional through-line in her new music: she was writing songs for her younger self, or maybe one day for a teenaged Avery. Songs that could be encouraging when the rest of the world isn't; raw anthems for standing up for yourself and celebrations of both strength and vulnerability.
Sammi Lanzetta’s debut is an exciting beginning for a solo artist whose instinct isn’t to fit into a mold, but to break it. Her dedication to simply being herself feels staunchly singular and incredibly inviting at the same time, and with every burst of gritty guitar, undeniable hook, or relatable insight, Lanzetta makes it clear that 'For Avery' is for everyone.