Monday, June 11, 2012

Lozen: Punchy, Sludge.

photo by Chris Fuller
Hozi (Hozoji Matheson-Margullis) and Juice (Justine Valdez), the ladies of Tacoma, prove that smart lyrics, pounding melodies and menacing rock are not mutually exclusive.

Lozen, as a band, has been around since 2005, but their friendship extends further back to those ever so foundational bonds of high school. Taking their name from the Chihenne Chiricahua Apache warrior, the duo melds an isolating vocal cacophony with some well-tested droning sludge. Straight up reinvigorated riot grrrl.

Somehow this all does them a disservice. They're more unique than reviewers give them credit, and their song writing is more innovative than the easily applied Melvins, Unwound comparisons suggest. As women artists go, we're still in the habit of trying to make them fit into some pre-established mold. Performative contradictions aside, sure the influences are there and nothing is created in a vacuum, but after almost eight years of playing together and evolving their sound, it's somewhat degrading to keep throwing out comparison after comparison, as if that somehow legitimates what they're doing.

Back to the vacuum: listen to Enemies Against Power (2007) followed by oona (2009) on their own merits. While I'm still partial to the rawness of EAP, the obvious progressions to oona evidence a subtle yet powerful evolution of a sound that generates its own aggression. Live, Lozen is a fucking blast. The intensity quickly builds as Hozi and Juice build off one another, smiling, scowling, flailing, screaming, laughing, slaying ....

An anti-establishment wrecking crew at its best. Intuition says wake the fuck up.

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