Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It's possible to think that Coco Hames, Poni Silver and Jem Cohen, of the Nasheville band The Ettes, have lists that they mind, lists that they update frequently, when certain things have transpired and there's a need to brush them up. The lists are those of victims, of those intimate somebodies, who have gotten in their ways, done them wrong and hence been trampled and crossed off the list. These former somebodies, now mere shadows of their former selves - horsemeat, and they sound as if they were easy to push around. Let's be frank here, those that are sung about in Ettes songs sound as if they should be men. We don't know and don't care if there's a different sexual attraction happening here, but if we were betting men, we would place all of it on these songs being about the guys that have been torn apart limb from limb by these sneakier than thou women. You see, these guys seem to be somewhat pathetic, or easily preyed upon. It must make women salivate to know that they can so simply manipulate men into doing almost whatever they please, take what they want and then discard them - or write a song about the things that those men did in their company. The women of the Ettes have thick, thick, THICK-soled shoes, boots, that they stamp down on the ground, rattling floors up to a mile away, playing a brand of garage rock that plays with gasoline and matches. There's no fear and no taking it easy on the band's latest album, "Do You Want Power?" or on their upcoming record, "Wicked Will," two songs from which are featured here for the first time in recorded version. "My Baby Cried All Night Long" is a song that borders on gloating. The woman has been bad, very bad on numerous occasions, been caught in the act (one might assume purposefully) and yet, here's a song about the poor baby of a man, weeping and weeping all through the night. Hames sings, "Saw me dancin' with a boy named Joe/A huggin' and a kissin' with the lamps down low…/Saw me messin' with a boy named Luke/Baby can't do what Luke can do." The guy's getting beat up, but we're supposed to believe that he had it coming to him, I think. The songs are a series of dares, of these strong-assed women saying, "You go ahead and do that and see what it'll get you." These women have the upper hand. They're not to be intimidated and they're not going to be pushed around or leveraged against. They're just going to do what they have to do. They're going to pick who they need to pick, or who they want to pick and they're going to kick around and out those who they're not wanting any longer. The music, coming in exasperating flares, singeing like the hot iron of a brand striking the hide, acts like the sharp end of the boot or the hard door slamming against the good-fer-nothing's backside. It's a big cleansing of the son of a bitches.