The Ettes “Excuse” (Influenza)
Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: Influenza, Music, Nashville.
As time draws near for the release of the Ettes‘ fourth studio album, Wicked Will, the trio has dropped a pair of new tracks: the fuzzy and wonderfully distorted “The Pendulum” and the straight-forward kick in the teeth “Excuse.” Produced by Liam Watson (the Kills, the White Stripes) Wicked Will was written on the road before eventually taking shape in the group’s native Nashville. Since the release of 2009′s Do You Want Power the band has seen a slow emergence into the mainstream, performing on the likes of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, but perhaps one of the most critical plots on the group’s timeline might have come with Lindsay “Coco” Hames‘ collaborative album with Greg Cartwright as the Parting Gifts. The duo’s Strychnine Dandelion was well received upon its release in 2010 (Pitchfork, for instance, called it a “surprisingly versatile” effort), but without the step away from her mainstay, the drive to create such an inspired new record under the Ettes banner might not have been there. In this edition of Influenza, “Coco” explains how she turned from the Parting Gifts and focused herself on new music, eventually expanding on the creation of the aforementioned “Excuse.” To see the Ettes live, the band will be taking to the road in August for a whopping 27-date U.S. tour, kicking things off in New York with fellow Nashvillains Hans Condor and Heavy Cream lending support.
I am a man of action. Platitudes and excuses annoy and exhaust me. The way I communicate with people, those things get in the way of understanding, instead of leading to it. I also hate repeating myself. “Excuse” was the first song I wrote for Wicked Will, I’d just finished the Parting Gifts record with Greg Cartwright and was like, right, let’s get to the next Ettes record. I was sat down at my dining table with my guitar and I was in a mood to construct and lay out what we call a “rager.” There are “ragers,” and “bangers,” and trippy ones and sad ones, and I just wrote “Excuse” with the low E string and a tambourine. It’s like a camp song. A mean, mean camp song.
“Excuse” (which I just learned is the name of another single coming out right now, but in a whole different way; “Excuse” by Big Freedia is kind of my favorite thing right now, that sounds like me and Poni [Silver], “esscuuuuuuse…”) is just a direct call out to people who talk a big talk but don’t actually do anything, especially about their own problems or their own situations. One thing I can’t really tolerate is complaining, because while I value the power of venting, and commiserating, it gets to a point where complaining is just an excuse to not do anything, not make the changes that would fix what you’re complaining about. I’m kind of a bad listener in that way, like a bad ear to bend, because it’s my nature to go straight to the source of what’s wrong, identify it, and figure out how to fix it. Whatever “it” is. And when people don’t really want to do that (because it is oftentimes something that is going to be difficult) I get fed up, and “Excuse” pretty much lets you know how I feel about that.
I’ve said that Wicked Will is an album that I find to reflect a lot about my relationships with women: my interactions, observations, perceptions on gender roles and assumptions, behavior, etc. “Excuse” makes itself pretty clear, and it’s actually a conversation I’ve had. The music and the performance of the song reiterate my frustrations, which is a big part of our sound together as a band. If you don’t understand the words that are coming out of my mouth, the music will let you know for sure.