May 25, 2016

LP: T-Rextasy - Jurassic Punk

T-Rextasy celebrates sexuality and smashes gender norms on their debut album.

Sisters Betty, Dorothy (“Dot”), and Helen Wiggin released Philosophy of the World in 1969 as The Shaggs, a three-piece rock band formed in their New Hampshire home. Over the next half-century, the group’s first and only album to date became a cult classic of sorts. To some, the band epitomized DIY or punk ethics, each member having learned her instrument for the sole purpose of starting a band. The songs on Philosophy feel existentially-charged at times (see “Why Do I Feel?” and “What Should I Do?”). But from every angle, the lyrics are disorientingly honest. “It doesn’t matter where you go, it doesn’t matter who you see / There will always be someone who disagrees,” The Shaggs once sang on their title track. Fast forward to 2016 and T-Rextasy, a band tapping into the same vein of honesty on their first full-length album, Jurassic Punk. They even delve further, if possible. On “Daylight Lover,” vocalist Lyris Faron applauds a woman who, “wants to do what feels good, not just what they think she should.” “She wants sex and nothing more / So when they are finished copulating, she says ‘Hey, baby — there’s the door,” Faron croons, enunciating every line with purpose, direction, and no hint of hesitation. Jurassic Punk is an apology-free space. What’s good, Amy Schumer?

T-Rextasy links humor to endearment to instruction, often within a single song. “What Gets Me” sets Ebun Nazon-Power’s climbing drumbeat amongst a trio of “oh baby, baby”’s before clearing the way for Faron to announce — not admit — that genuine respect from a partner turns her on. “Don’t use feminism to nullify chivalry,” she instructs as bassist Annie Fidoten sends the band stomping through the bridge. The claim that a woman can be both sexual and respectable shouldn’t be earth-shattering, and on Jurassic Punk, it isn’t. Calls for equality receive no cushioning. Feminism runs through the record as fact. After all, the double standard is no subtle thing, so T-Rextasy has organized its blunt, punk destruction. What metaphors Faron does make use of express emotions through a set of sharpened teeth that the literal just doesn’t possess. “Yellow Jacket Boy,” for one, closes with a direct, albeit creative, sexual request: “I want you, darling boy, to stick your stinger inside my honeypot.” While the aforementioned “Daylight Lover” pays tribute to a Toni Morrison novel, “Gap Yr Boiz” criticizes entitled, well-traveled men who left their Beats by Dre headphones and liberal arts educations behind to embark on philanthropic journeys without pausing to consider how their privilege may enable them to make such trips in the first place. Since its earliest demos, T-Rextasy has been constructing a platform to celebrate sexuality, call out entitlement, and smash gender norms. Their music demands the empowerment of female-identifying people, particularly women of color and those who were largely omitted from past feminist narratives. In soundtracking an ultra-inclusive wave of feminism with Lena Abraham and Vera Kahn’s dueling guitars, T-Rextasy shells out its own philosophy of the world, and a vital one at that.

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Listen to T-Rextasy on bandcamp.

THIS STAFF POST WAS CONTRIBUTED BY:
Cory Lomberg is a student at Occidental College studying English and Comparative Literature. She enjoys blogging, baking, doing crossword puzzles and talking about her feelings.