Last weekend I had my first gleeful play of Sistrionix, the debut album from LA blues-rock duo Deap Vally. Since seeing their charismatic live show last September I’ve been eagerly awaiting this release. Their combination of raucous guitar-based grunge and feminist conviction is right up my alley, and brings back happy memories of long-gone, much loved female acts of the past – Babes In Toyland, L7, and of Courtney Love on her good days. For a more contemporary reference, Sistrionix brings to mind an all-lady White Stripes but with an even bigger Led Zeppelin obsession, and Lindsay Troy has, to my mind, the best female rock voice this side of Beth Ditto.
So why do I mention them here? Because (and I’m pretty sure this is not an urban legend), they met at a crochet class. In fact, drummer Julie Edwards once worked in an LYS in LA called The Little Knittery. Clearly, even more reason for me to love them!
For other commentators, however, this appears to be a source of some vexation, if not amusement. “Looking at them, you would not think Deap Vally – a primal two-girl guitar’n’drums duo from LA – met in a crochet class,” says Kitty Empire in her Observer review. “That Edwards and Troy mix needlecraft with distortion remains one of this superlative duo’s plus points; subverting expectations from the off.” “We read that your first contact took place in a crocheting class. Is it true?” asks a bemused Basement in a recent interview. “We mean, you don’t look and sound like the girls who would fancy such kind of stuff…” Clearly these reviewers who see yarn craft as incompatible with punk ethic have never heard of Lauren O’Farrell. Or of Rachael Matthews. Or yarn bombing. Or guerrilla knitting. Or Kelly Deal of the Breeders’ book of knitted bags! C’mon, this is 2013, of course you can knit and rock out!
For the record here is Julie’s response: “Yes, we met in a crochet class. But I don’t think it’s so strange for us to love knitting and crochet. As musicians, we are very tactile, touch-based people, and crochet fulfills a similar craving.”
As Kitty concludes in her review: “They rock, they knit. Deal with it.”