Monthly Archives: May 2014

Jean Smith on Make A Gif

Empathy for the Evil 2014

1 NEW March-2014

The new Mecca Normal album Empathy for the Evil will be released on M’lady’s Records in September, 2014.


Jean Smith vocals, David Lester acoustic guitar, KRAMER on bass and keys. Produced and mixed by KRAMER. Recorded by Rat Bastard at the Laundry Room, Miami Beach in November of 2012.

1. Art Was the Great Leveler 2:32
David guitar, Jean vocal, KRAMER bass
2. What’s Your Name? 3:30
David guitar, Jean vocal and sax, KRAMER bass
3. Wasn’t Said 4:26
David guitar, Jean vocal and piano, KRAMER bass and organ
4. Between Livermore and Tracy 10:19
David guitar, Jean vocal and piano, KRAMER bass, organ and mellotron
5. Normal 4:50
David guitar, Jean vocal, KRAMER bass and organ
6. One Man’s Anger 3:35
David guitar, Jean vocal and piano, KRAMER bass
7. Naked and Ticklish 5:50
David guitar, Jean vocal and guitar, KRAMER bass
8. Maisy’s Death 7:51
David guitar, Jean vocal, KRAMER bass and organ
9. Odele’s Bath 5:43
David guitar, Jean vocal, KRAMER bass

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Review: Mecca Normal – Calico Kills the Cat

By Levi Fuller | Published: May 15, 2014

What a happy coincidence! When I began my usual internet research for this week’s piece on Northwest heroes Mecca Normal, I fully expected to find the usual nostalgic laments for a great band that was no more. How wrong I was! Not only is the two-piece guitar/voice unit of Jean Smith and David Lester fully operational – with a Facebook page and everything – but they have a new album coming out this fall, produced by Kramer! (See my previous post on B.A.L.L.’s Bird for more on Kramer.) Exciting times. It appears most of the KCMU DJs circa 1989 would be thrilled with this news as well.

“A K band from Vancouver BC. Just him playing elec. guitar + her singing. Her voice is odd + abrasive, as is, now that I think about it, his guitar playing. I like it a lot + seems to get better w/repeat listenings.”

“A great cover. Jean did it herself!”

“KCMU welcomes on part of the Black Wedge Tour w/Sang & Peter Plate. An eve. of music, politics & poetry @ the O.K. Hotel, on 5/6. All ages!” [This appears to have been the third Black Wedge Tour, according to this in-depth Mecca Normal history blog.]

“Drawn whilst sitting on the pot I’d say. If Billy Bragg had a little more talent, he might do something like this.” [Look, I’m not sure why we have to go slagging the great Billy Bragg just in order to praise these guys. Can’t we all be friends?]

“This is great!”

“Oh-oh-Brian Zess likes this!”

“Sounds great – if Calvin was a [female symbol]. (Are they cotton?)”

“Reminds me of early Penetration.”

“If Billy Bragg had more talent – are you serious Scotty? I guess we’re lucky he doesn’t. I like this – but I wouldn’t want to have [illegible] w/ [illegible – hot sauce?]”

“The songs are short, sharp + sometimes shocking – great minimalist sound – vocal + guitar. Try ‘Blue TV.’”

“Hey, I used to do this while drinking cheap tequila in high school. We’d sing-scream til I puked on my guitar then we’d all fall asleep. What fun!”

“But they released a record and you didn’t.”

“Thank God.”

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