Album Review: Tacocat – Lost Time


TacoCatAt first glance, Tacocat seems like a very innocuous thing. The four-piece band’s name comes across as disarming and playful with sunny instrumentation to match.

Yet, to overlook the depth of Tacocat’s music, their “bubblegum rock,” is to do the band a disservice.

“Lost Time,” an album made up of 12 poignant looks at life, picks up where Tacocat last left off in every regard.

The instrumentation on “Lost Time” feels largely similar to the band’s last album, “NVM,” it’s the writing that has become blunter. Singer Emily Nokes’ skill for introspection and observation elevates Tacocat where so many other bands falter.

In a perfect world we’d receive a balanced expression of both sides of gender politics within music, but in our messy reality Nokes’ willingness to address the social issues that others dance around or weakly acknowledge is refreshing.

“Lost Time” is never pandering and never hits you over the head. In fact, it’s fun through and through. Even as the world ends on “I Love Seattle,” as the city falls into the ocean succumbing to earthquakes and tsunamis, Tacocat will joyously tell you the city feels so much like home they’d never want to leave.

Though, the importance of what Tacocat is doing comes from their social commentary.

“Men Explain Things to Me” says it all starting with its title and carrying into its lyrics (“Don’t tell me what to do / My feelings won’t subdue / Just because you told them to”). Nokes directly addresses the clichéd roles of gender through smartly employed metaphors, such as moving off of a walkway for men who take up the entire sidewalk, and voices her frustration (“We get it dude / We’ve already heard enough from you / The turning point is overdue”).

Tacocat confidently offers a female perspective on topics we typically see addressed by men. “You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit” (a reference to the Nirvana song “Scentless Apprentice,” similar to their last album’s title paying homage to Nirvana’s “Nevermind”) involves Nokes asking for a past relationship to take her back, but only so she can break up with them in return.

Nokes’ gaze then falls on “The Internet.” Here, the “Hate from the basement / Hate from the insecure,” from the anonymous and from the “mosquitos” is addressed. It’s a song with a rhetorical question, asking what right a random individual has to make a judgement over another they’ve never met.

Conversely, “Talk” looks at the disconnect between two individuals within the same room (“Together, together, alone / Stay true, true to your phone”) and the all-too-common inclination for two individuals to sit next to each other entrenched in their own phones. Nokes points out that she simply wants to use the time to talk, maybe even dance if the situation allows.

“Lost Time” culminates in the song “Leisure Bees,” a well-executed metaphor reminding the listener to “Take your time because / It’s your time to take.” Here, Nokes wisely explains that success in life is an entirely subjective term. Success doesn’t have to be based on work, it can be something as simple as your happiness.

It’s a fitting closing to “Lost Time” because Tacocat is ultimately using the album to communicate the importance of the individual. After all, “the values that you want / Are the ones that you can make.”

 

Emiliano is a DJ at KSSU

Weekly Staff Picks #3


Hello hello wide world web! We have congregated here again to choose on your behalf  what you should listen to. I know, how kind of us to do. No need to thank us, we do this for the sake of finding something we love and nothing more.

 

Staff Pick 1: Claudia Rivas

The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come to Expect, Aviation

The Last Shadow Puppets have finally released their sophomore LP, Everything You’ve Come to Expect, eight years after debuting, The Age Of The Understatement, in 2008. The brilliant collaborative duo of the Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner and former The Rascals’ front-man Miles Kane have a new batch of songs ready to take on their scheduled upcoming tour. Turner and Kane have created a LP that not only mixes guitar-rock and classical-violins seamlessly, but also rendered a collection of songs that clearly serve as a soundtrack for dangerous summer romance. In their single “Aviation”, these themes are clearly portrayed. Backed by somber strings, the tune plays out like a dramatic vintage spy film. The opening graduation of noise and dissonance of heavy guitar riffs and fluttering string arrangements that give it a Bond-like quality. Sounding like music that would be the centerpiece for a early-00s’ spy movie similar to Mission Impossible, “Aviation” is the opening song that sets the dramatic romantic tone for the entire LP, well worth the listen.

 

Staff Pick 2: Emiliano Martin

Frankie Cosmo – Fit Me In, Next Thing

Frankie Cosmos’ EP “Fit Me In” shouldn’t be overlooked in light of her newest album this year, “Next Thing.” The track “Young” and the EP itself are a departure from her earlier work with its drum machine and synth combo in place of her earlier bedroom-recorded guitar and microphone. Like a lot of her songs, “Young” is simple but serves to communicate a thought Cosmos had in a particular moment. Her music is able to deliver a sense of comfort while contemplating what it means to be “young,” “fun,” and “alive.”

 

Staff Pick 3: Lucy Morales

Club Cheval – Discipline, Legends

When you gather different and brilliant minds together into one collective, the end result is either disastrous or exceptional.  Canblaster, Sam TibaMyd and Panteros666 are four French DJs who have conjoined their electronica expertise to form the dynamic Club Cheval. Their track “Legends” is an exceptional place to start for those new to their R&B and house blended sound. The smooth croonings of Rudy seamlessly interchanges with swaggering beats and deeply penetrating basslines. What propels forward the energy and eventually settles the the direction of the track is the premature climax of dark chorus of children boldly announcing “fight for life… live to fight… ”. Easily, “Legends” has all the necessary elements to cross into American EDM territory.

 

Staff Pick 4: Lucas Oliveira

Quilt – Roller, Plaza

Are you as sick of hearing new music that sounds like updated versions of the schlocky pop songs of the 80’s as I am? Well, lucky for us, Quilt draws its inspiration from an earlier time, shirking the shotgun-snare synth-pop that many indie bands are turning to in favor of tremolo-heavy psychedelia. But while their last album wore its Jefferson Airplane and Syd Barrett influences on its sleeve, their latest release is less obviously indebted to the late 60’s. The first thirty seconds or so of “Roller” would sound perfectly at home on a Spoon album, with its chugging guitar and bass and wavering vocal-like synth harmonies. Come the chorus, the noodly bassline and chiming guitars reveal that Quilt hasn’t completely abandoned its psychedelic roots. The result is a sunny, swaying mid-tempo track that merges the music of the late 60’s with 21st century indie, and I definitely recommend it.

 

Staff Pick 5: Andrew Garcia

Tacocat – Lost Time, Dana Katherine Scully

The three words I can find to best describe Tacocat’s sound are feminist, bubblegum, punk. They harness the power of all three of these adjectives to create my new favorite song “Dana Katherine Scully,” a musical letter of adoration for the fictional FBI Agent of the X-Files department. Tacocat groove out to the charming sonics of surf punk affability and the hilarious yet fully sincere nerd love usually reserved for the most dedicated of fan-fic writers. However, they skirt obsession, in favor of endearing respect of the way in which Agent Dana Scully sees the world through logic and rational. As Tacocatputs it, “She wants to know what’s out there/but she need to know why”. It’s a groovy good time.