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Carved Out of Oak

Lozen rumble with unadorned rock

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I'm sitting here, staring at my keyboard, and trying to think of more to say about Lozen other than they f#@*ing rock. I guess that's ultimately the best place to start.

Lozen - a two-piece, all-girl, alt-metal-experimental-tribal-etcetera band - f#@*ing rock. They exploit the limitations of having a band made up of just drums and guitar to great effect, making towering yet minimal compositions that rattle your bones. There's no polish or shine to obscure their rough and ragged tunes. Their vocals are primal and impassioned, frequently nothing more than guttural chants or frantic shrieks. Lozen are simple, unadorned rock. They're carved out of oak.

"It was 2004, I was living in Bellingham, and I used to play (Hozoji Matheson-Margullis') drum kit all the time in high school," says Lozen drummer Justine Maria Valdez. "I asked her to come and help me pick out a drum set, and she said, 'If you buy a drum set, I've been jamming bass and guitar and I'll come play with you.''"

"We started jamming, just for fun, and a few months later, her other band couldn't fulfill a show, and we had three or four songs, so we played our first show," she says. "A friend of ours gave us this book about the Apache warrior, Lozen, called Warrior Woman, and she resonated with us as an awesome person, a non-traditional woman fulfilling non-traditional rules. We sort of jokingly said, 'Well, why don't we have a band and call it Lozen?'"

Joking or not, Lozen does embody this kind of feminist ideal, performing hard rock that sometimes slips into more male-oriented territory like sludge-metal and stoner rock. They do it so completely that they obliterate any creeping novelty to the notion of an all-girl two-piece performing such heavy music. Valdez is quick to point out, though, that they do not consider themselves to be a metal band, in the strictest sense of the term.

"I'm not irritated when people call us metal, I just feel that that's not incorporating all of our aspects," says Valdez. "I think our sound just came from what we listened to together in high school. We listened to a lot of Karp, godheadSilo, Melvins, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin - a lot of classic rock. Hozoji was one of the only people I knew in high school who liked Black Sabbath - everyone was into KUBE 93 jams. That kind of rough, garage-y sounding music, especially of godheadSile and Karp and stuff, it really resonated with me. We've been compared a lot to riot grrrl, like, 'Oh, were you into L7 and Seven Year Bitch?' I think we were just young enough to miss that scene. We'd be taking the bus down to Olympia to see Unwound when they were playing."

Influences aside, Lozen's stomping, tribal rock more than speaks for itself. Recently, the group finished recording its latest LP, Para Vida, which will be its first to be pressed onto 12" vinyl. Analog might be the best way in which to hear Lozen's massive rumbles.

[New Frontier Lounge, w/ Mico De Noche, Argonaut, Apache Chief, 9pm, $5, 301 E. 25th St, Tacoma, 253.572.4020]

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