Band of the Week: Tacocat

MEET THE BAND: Emily Nokes (vocals), Bree McKenna (bass), Lelah Maupin (drums), Eric Randall (guitar)

FRIENDS UNTIL THE END: The Tacocat bandmates live in an old Seattle house together. There, they write feminist party punk songs and collect way too many clothes from thrift stores, says bassist Bree McKenna. The four-piece has been together since 2007 after meeting through friends and art school. At first, the band thing wasn't serious; it was just about learning their instruments and playing house shows. Then, they started booking bigger gigs like Sasquatch! Music festival after signing with the Hardly Art record label, and then the Washington state punk scene started paying attention. Cross country tours and albums followed — 2014's NVM and 2016's Lost Time — and now they're back on the road with new songs in tow.

CLEVELAND FRIENDS: McKenna recalls the last time she can remember her band rolling through Cleveland. It was a house show, and she says it was a mistake to try and play the theme song from Friends. "Maybe people don't like that show in Cleveland?" she wonders. "It didn't go over well." Taking the time to chat at home last week before heading out on tour, McKenna says that after a decade together, they know how to travel together well — like when to let one another sleep and which taco joints to hit up in certain cities.

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: Tacocat makes songs that are snarky and smart but will also make you want to dance and yell along. Songs like "Men Explain Things to Me" and "Crimson Wave" bring a refreshingly female perspective to an often male-dominated genre. But other tunes like "Bridge to Hawaii," a brilliant idea which McKenna says the band is still in favor of building, and "You Can't Fire Me, I Quit" serve up a surfy, good time. "We identify as feminist for sure," McKenna explains. "We believe in empowering young women and all those who are marginalized. That's important to the band. But we are a feminist band because we are feminists. At the end of the day, we are just musicians making music." That also means continuing to grow in their songwriting, including with a fresh album. "We recorded a new album that's almost done, but there's nothing to be announced with that yet," she says. In the meantime, McKenna says she's thrilled to bring some new material to Cleveland. "And I promise we won't play anything from Friends," she says.


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Tacocat performs with Gymshorts and Cotton Ponys at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 12, at Mahall's.

Like this story?
SCENE Supporters make it possible to tell the Cleveland stories you won’t find elsewhere.
Become a supporter today.
Scroll to read more Local Music articles

Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.