Cadallaca Play Up '60s-Style Drama On Debut Album

The trio formed by members of Sleater-Kinney and the Lookers evokes and critiques girl-group chic.

You probably won't find a more accurate and succinct description of Cadallaca than this

offhand remark from guitarist and singer "Kissy": "We're all about drama," she said.

Take the name Kissy, for starters. Behind that made-up moniker is the musician most

people know as Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker.

For the members of this Pacific Northwest three-piece -- Tucker, organist "Dusty" (the

Lookers' Sarah Dougher) and drummer "Junior" (the drummer for the Lookers, who

usually goes by the name STS) -- the pseudonyms are only a part of the stylish,

purposeful drama in which they wrap themselves.

From the ultra-swank Cadillac that graces the cover of their recently released album,

Introducing Cadallaca (K Records), to the extra-eerie sounds of the mod Farfisa

organ on each of the album's 10 tracks, Cadallaca touch all the bases to evoke an

inflated sense of 1960s girl-group cool, while at the same time -- from their vantage point

as modern indie-rockers -- implicitly critiquing the music industry that spawned girl

groups.

"Music itself is dramatic," Tucker said recently from the home she shares with Dougher.

"To really grab people's attention, which Cadallaca loves to do, we like to create a story

and convey some emotion that will draw people in to our own world."

"Part of that drama is creating characters, both within the songs and within our

performance," Dougher said. "Creating dramatic and fictional scenarios, both for

ourselves and others, is one of our favorite pastimes."

Cadallaca also pull people into their realm by talking about nothing but that realm.

During interviews, they strategically drop the band's name into sentences, as if extolling

the virtues of some clubhouse or cult. Sleater-Kinney and the Lookers are largely

referred to as "my other band," just as a politician refers to another candidate not by

name, but as "my opponent."

Introducing Cadallaca makes it quite plain, however, that all the affectation is in

the name of fun, even though it makes a point. Part of the enjoyment of the band's drama

is, after all, the fact that it's over the top. The most obvious example is

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Cadallaca/Night_Vandals.ram">"Night

Vandals" (RealAudio excerpt), which envisions the bandmembers as cat

burglars. "June 'n' July" (RealAudio excerpt) plays up the theatrical

atmosphere with a frantic rhythm that calls to mind the verses of Queen's "Bicycle Race."

Of course, no band that boasts such conscientious lyricists as Tucker and Dougher

should be thought of as a joke outfit, and Introducing Cadallaca includes several

notably poignant moments, including the lyrics of "Your One Wish" ("I'm your one wish

that you'll never get") and the closing harmonies of "You're My Only One."

In contrast to the more rigorous creative process associated with the Cadallaca

members' "other bands," the songs for Introducing Cadallaca came easily, the

band says.

"It just works out," STS said. "Sarah set up an organ in my basement one day and

whipped out this really nice organ-riff, and I just started playing drums to it." From there

the band fell right into place.

"The lyrics and the music come all at once, which is really exciting," Tucker added. "With

Cadallaca, the lyrics are much more like 50 percent of what we're doing, because it's

more like story-telling, more silly, more fun."

While a song such as

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Cadallaca/Two_Beers_Later.ram">"Two Beers

Later" (RealAudio excerpt) might seem to speak directly to the Cadallaca

members' experience -- it craftily describes a promoter more concerned with the money

an all-female band will make than with the music it creates -- Dougher is hesitant to chalk

the inspiration for that or any other song up to actual events.

"As a songwriter, it's really important to be able to fictionalize things," Dougher said, "to

be able to take real-life events or feelings and dramatize them. I definitely think that really

happens all over the Cadallaca record. Nothing is entirely truthful and nothing is entirely

fictional."

What is undoubtedly truthful and sincere, Tucker says, is the band's appreciation

for the '60s vibe it evokes with its look and sound, and its appreciation for the '90s

indie-rock scene that made a side project such as Cadallaca possible.

"We're living in present times," she said, "not just doing it as this weird gimmick. We

actually love the '60s and the style of girl groups, but we also love the advances women

have made in the last 30 years. Being able to sing about our lives, singing about being

queer or being straight or all those things our band are is really important to us."