Review: Calico Kills the Cat

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Mecca Normal – “Calico Kills The Cat” (1988)

One woman said,
“I don’t like the way things are going.”
One woman said,
“I think I’ll change it all.”
— “One Woman”

This encapsulates the Riot Grrrl dream. The Riot Grrrls didn’t get there, because society moves slowly, like a glacier. But it was a step in the right direction. Today we have #MeToo. We’re continuing to make progress. It’s just sad that after this many years we still have so far to go.

Mecca Normal were a duo from Vancouver, BC, and their sophomore album Calico Kills The Cat was released on Olympia, Washington’s forward-thinking label K Records. I’m not sure I can truly say that Mecca Normal remind me of anyone else. The songs are simple – David Lester on guitar and Jean Smith doing vocals. That’s basically it. You don’t even notice the true simplicity of their sound until you focus on it, because you’re so focused on Smith’s forceful and agitated singing.

Their songs are forceful and message-driven. There’s an honesty here that runs deep. And I like everything about it.

Life in the Vinyl Lane, music outside of the mainstream (July 31, 2018)

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David Lester Art Show at InterUrban Gallery, Vancouver

InterUrban Gallery, 1 East Hastings (entrance on Carrall Street)
Wednesday, October 25th to Saturday, November 3
1:00 – 4:00 PM

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Mecca Normal at David Lester’s exhibit of graphic novel panels (including Emma Goldman, Winnipeg General Strike and The Battle of Ballantyne Pier), MAGNET Magazine cartoons and Inspired Agitator posters at the InterUrban Gallery during the 15th Annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival in Vancouver. Photos by Joelene Clarke.

Hanging the images on Wednesday, October 24 , 2018.

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At the opening, Sunday, October 28, 2018.

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Winnipeg General Strike (1919)

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panel 1

Emma Goldman (work in progress)

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Inspired Agitators poster series

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Normal History Vol. 168 for Magnet Magazine online

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LP insert

LP insert for the live album in the CBC Brave New Waves series.

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$100 USD paintings (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) by Jean Smith. For sale online.

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Winnipeg General Strike 1919

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David Lester’s drawing for a graphic novel history of the Winnipeg General Strike, 1919.

 

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Audio Umami

Illustrated Amateur essay arguing that Mecca Normal ought to be discussed amongst the avant rock greats.

“Smith, and Mecca Normal, have cemented a place in feminist music history, so let’s take a minute to appreciate their other innovations. Let’s see about making sure they are mentioned in the catalogs of avant rock, too. Don’t let her words completely overshadow their deeds.”

 

Mecca Normal the Eagle and the Poodle

 

 
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Video: Now is the Time of the Older Woman

“Now is the time of the older woman.” – Gina Birch of the Raincoats in a BBC documentary about women in punk

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“Rose” and “Days”

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“Rose” and “Days” (K Records, IPU-032) cover art by Jean Smith

“This beauty spreads. Feel it. Two concise song sketches, “Rose” and “Days”, in the inimitable Mecca Normal style that celebrate life in all of its sublime, melancholy and emotional power.” – K Records

IPU

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Amazon Reviews of “Jarred Up”

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Amazon reviews Jarred Up

5.0 out of 5 stars
Thanks for looking it up. NOW BUY IT !
Bymonkeypapaon December 4, 1999
Format: Audio CD
If you have heard Mecca Normal then briefly this is my favorite, a compilation of early singles (in other words no drums). Includes Strong White Male (the greatest song ever IMHO). Generally follows a Heavy – Mellow – Heavy – Mellow pattern as far as song selection.
If you have never heard Mecca Normal, the closest approximation would be an 80’s era MaryAnne Faithful vocals cackling ultra-feminist lyrics over a hyperactive Billy Braggish rhythmic electric guitar backing. And I mean this in the best possible way. If you truly like your music independent and sort of difficult, this is a good purchase.
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the best post-punk albums of all time
ByScience Experimentson
April 13, 2011
Highly, highly recommend this album. If you like Billy Bragg at his best, this album is guaranteed to blow you away. If you like the Clash/Stummer, Bob Dylan or any guitar intensive punk/rock, give this a try.
I gave a friend this album and he spent an afternoon walking around NYC with the album in his ears — he still talks about. There’s a performance assignment for all you Amazonians.
Give this wonderful little gem a try!
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