Monthly Archives: April 2006

LA Weekly Picks

LA Weekly Picks

Mecca Normal at the Silverlake Lounge

Thought I’d pass along Jean Smith of Mecca Normal’s recent posting: “ME: Not here for random sex or one-night stands. I’m 5’3,” 105 lbs. Non-drinker. I have a sense of humour and a positive outlook. I don’t have kids, pets or a car. Intending to establish an ongoing connection based on a mutual agreement, communication and respect. YOU: 100% SINGLE non-smoker, non-drinker (preferably), with a car. No drugs. 38-49. You live alone — no children or teens that you are responsible for. Fit, slim, muscular — not overweight. Employed. Out of previous relationship long enough to be feeling fine and not hooked on the hunt for the next conquest. If you happen to enjoy experimental qualities of literature, art and music — so much the better.”

Mecca Normal, based in Vancouver, is the 20-year-or-so veteran experimental/indie duo of poet/novelist/singer Jean Smith and guitarist/writer David Lester. Over the years, the pair have issued numerous recordings of extraordinarily stark, bleak, bleakly humorous, bleakly beautiful and politically pointed ’n’ progressive music and lyrical imagery; both are gifted painters as well. They’ve got a new album just out, called The Observer (Kill Rock Stars), which details in part Smith’s experiences in the shaky and strange new digital world of online dating. She’s not being ironic, not entirely; in fact Smith sees great possibilities in this brave new love/sex prototype and uses her more romantically life-affirming new songs to interpret brutally straightforward accounts of the varied creeps, losers, liars but also pretty good dudes who happen to like pizza, literature, art and sex just as much as Jean does. Smith is a writer of supremely fresh poetic skills and has a keen, keen eye for the basic incredibilities of our most mundane daily rituals and heartbreaks. One of her new songs is called “I’m Not Into Being the Woman You’re With While You’re Looking for the Woman You Want.” She says, “I am a woman who speaks out loudly, aggressively — weirdly.” Jean Smith’s not alone, as other worthy representatives from that camp are also on the bill tonight: Anna Oxygen and the Sharp-Ease. (John Payne)