Outside a tucked-away studio off Dexter Avenue, writer, musician and organizer Bree McKenna is talking about the hyperactive punk scene on Capitol Hill, where she is a fixture. One of her bands (TacocaT) is making a music video inside. But right now the story is her other band, Childbirth, the trio McKenna created with members of Pony Time and Chastity Belt. Their debut album “It’s a Girl!” came out last week.
Why choose Pony Time and Chastity Belt for a supergroup?
“They’re my two favorite bands in Seattle,” says McKenna. “I’m excited to see their shows. They aren’t boring rock bands. They’re feminists, all of them, but they have a good sense of humor.”
The united bands of Childbirth — represented by Stacy Peck (Pony Time), Julia Shapiro (Chastity Belt) and McKenna — rock with style, taste and onstage chemistry. It’s not big business, but it’s quality art: short, direct and sometimes profane songs with sharp lyrics often skewering gender bias.
Childbirth, in particular, is far removed from the polished rock on the radio; their whole album was recorded in five hours for $100. These bands thrive in mid- to low-capacity venues, on tiny record labels, and win praise from tastemakers like the site Pitchfork and writer Everett True, famous for breaking Nirvana in the ’90s.
Childbirth’s “It’s a Girl!” release party is Tuesday at Chop Suey. TacocaT and Chastity Belt play Vera Project Friday, along with Lures, Summer Babes and Atomic Bride, to benefit the organization “Skate Like A Girl.”
Standing out from the local seriousness (why is Seattle so serious?), “It’s a Girl!” is witty like little else in the scene, from its title (recalling the often patronizing special attention paid to bands with non-males in the media), to the cover image of a baby with attached umbilical cord and sunglasses, to Childbirth’s hard-rocking live show, where members wear hospital gowns and really “deliver.” Funny as they are, there is seriousness in songs like “Will You Be My Mom?”
“How Do Girls Even Do It?” is a satirical highlight about the entitled nosiness surrounding lesbian sex, backed by McKenna shouting provocative questions: “Which one of you’s the man?”
“It’s a common thing for people to say, ‘How do girls even do it?’ Just while you’re eating lunch, or whatever. … ”
Childbirth was born from an instinct to make the music you want to make, regardless if anyone asked for it. And in Seattle — where rock music can be rather dudely — the feminist flavor is necessary.
“I just moved to Seattle so I didn’t know what Seattle needed,” says Shapiro, the singer and guitarist, who came from Walla Walla in 2012. “It happened to be the exact right time to move here. Everyone has been so welcoming. We’ve never had a shortage of shows or offers. It’s been so easy.”
Girls that Shred
7 p.m. Friday (Jan. 10), The Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., Seattle; $10 (206-956-8372 or theveraproject.org).
8 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 14), Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., Seattle; $5 (206-324-8005 or chopsuey.com).