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On fire

Rockers TacocaT deliver the hot sauce

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As the Republican presidential primary continues to gurgle forth in an ever long ooze of grandstanding, empty rhetoric and "cheesy grits for breakfast, y'all," some of music's most respected sources have come forward to endorse their favorite candidate. Dave Mustaine of Megadeth briefly gave his promise ring to Rick Santorum. Kelly Clarkson feels that fellow Texan Ron Paul is the stronger candidate. Ted Nugent, well, he kind of sucks (this from the "jus' sayin'" files). So for those of us who haven't been able to pin down a choice, Seattle kitty rockers TacocaT would like to officially endorse, wait for it, television icon and nut grower Roseanne.

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The choice is no surprise once one gets to know the foursome's tunes, which are often immersed in pop culture references. The sleeve inside their latest Minor Bird Records 7-inch, titled Woman's Day, contains black-and-white cut-outs of Hasselhoff in his legendary "drunken hamburger" pose; Oscar, the nursing-home cat that predicted dozens of octogenarian deaths; and one of the most derided athletes of the late 20th century, the gorgeous Oregonian and Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding. Not to get all AP English on you, but darkness gathers in the corners of this music that on first listen sounds as sunny and upbeat as a swimming pool full of baby ducks. The band's own description, "Go-Gos meets The Monkees. Kurt meets Courtney," keeps the cultural references flying and is also an apt characterization of their sound. One part '60s manufactured garage throwback; one part cocaine-fueled California pop-punk; one part a marriage of beauty and the beast, or beast and the beast, or beauty and the beauty, depending on the circumstances or whom you ask.

I thought about none of those things, though, the first time I saw TacocaT at the Dark Horse Bar in Missoula. I only thought, "This is kicking me in the ding-dong, real good." The three ladies of TacocaT were clad mostly in white, each with a different blonde hair style and each with a different instrument that reflected the various types of crushes I've had on various types of cool rock-and-roll chicks since my first Babes in Toyland concert, circa 1990. We can't forget guitarist and bearded dude Eric Randall (also of The Trashies), who stood out as much for his height as his nifty guitar pickin'. Like a lot of dudes at this show, I jammed to hooky, energetic tracks like "UTI," which features lead vocalist and Butte, America, native Emily Nokes singing the lines "Super fucking horny but I can't have sex / My vagina is defective." No big d, right? If generations of dudes can rock out to David Lee Roth "reach[ing] down between [his] legs to ease the seat back" during the breakdown in Van Halen's "Panama," then why can't dudes rock out to the tale of a horny lady possessed by a uterus of fire? Turns out they can and do. This proves one of two things: Lyrics don't matter all that much when you're playing loud music to a bunch of PBR-drunk man-children. Or, men are more sensitive and empathetic than Nancy Grace gives them credit for.

Currently, the band is touring with two fresh EPs—the second, Take Me to Your Dealer, is available on Hardly Art Records—and are hitting all the places bands hit on their way up the rock fame train, including Austin's SXSW Festival. Nokes sums up their drive as they tour across dusty old Texas and perhaps her band's current status as well: "We're not quite in 'offensive billboard' territory yet, but we will be soon."

TacocaT plays Zoo City Apparel Wed., March 21, at 8 PM with the Magpies and Vera. $5.

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