Tag Archives: Mecca Normal

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)

Ballantyne
panel 1

Emma Goldman (work in progress)

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Inspired Agitators poster series

Normal History Vol 168 by David Lester sm

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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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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Review: Butt Rag #7

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Review by Peter Margasak (Editor) Butt Rag #7 (October 1991)

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7″ record covers

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Cardboard Box House of Love 7″ (K Records, 1990) art by Jean Smith

Malachi (K) 2010,Paris In April (K) 1996, The Bird That Wouldn’t Fly (Matador) 1995, Echo (Jettison) 1993, Rose (K)…

Posted by Mecca Normal on Saturday, May 11, 2013

All Mecca Normal 7″ covers

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Video: In January (long, 2003)

The long version of “In January” from the Janis Zeppelin CD (Smarten Up! Records, 2003) with paintings by Jean Smith.

Carl Wilson’s Globe and Mail review of the shorter version on The Family Swan (2002)

A new protest song is blowin’ in the wind

February 20, 2003

Today’s protest soundtracks require impromptu cacophony and knife fights with broken mirrors. Here’s 10 to march to, but not in formation.

7. Mecca Normal, In January ( The Family Swan, Kill Rock Stars): The veteran Vancouver anarchist duo was prescient last year to name this tense, abstract piece for the time, months later, when the world’s nerve endings would really start to shred. The track captures singer Jean Smith’s and guitarist David Lester’s roiling intensity the way it sounds in small live rooms across the continent — this time with Smith’s stinging tone pushing from the inside against lips that seem almost to be sewn shut.

 

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Video: early recording (cover)

Sonny Boy Williamson (circa 1984)

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Video: Held

Jean Smith vocals. David Lester guitar at Chicago’s Lounge Ax in the mid-1990s. “Held” is from “Dovetail” (K Records, 1992).

Held

You’d be surprised alright
where you could be held
there
pinned in an updraft
back against the clouds

Holding sirens’ rage
on a tangle pain
you didn’t know was there
you didn’t know it was there

Gridwork set up for your wing on rise
to place
where you will be held
back against the light

Hammer on, hammer on
towards never getting back
never getting back
hammer on
hammer on

 

 

 

 

 

 

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