You know the part in the Veruca Salt song “Disconnected”, when Louise Post is singing about how her lover (allegedly Dave Grohl!) has left her for another – a movie star! (I bet Winona Ryder is a good guess) and how she is super bitter and The Cult’s “Electric” is her “favorite record of the week because (she’s) not feeling sweet”? And you’re like, “Lou, you make being bitter and on Zoloft sound so appealing! If only I liked The Cult. What am I supposed to listen to during my nightly wallow? I know – "No One’s Little Girl" by The Raincoats!
Total disclosure: I haven’t liked The Raincoats for as long as I should have. I first read about them a handful of years ago in a magazine interview with singer Ana de Silva. I thought, “Oh, cool. A post-punk all girl band from England? I’ll have to tell myself to check them out and then promptly forget to do so for another year or two until I am looking at the Myspace page of my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend who will have a song of theirs playing and then I will like her a little bit, even though I’m not supposed to.” That day was over two years ago, and I’ve been a faithful fan ever since.
Moving (Rough Trade, 1984) is my favorite record of theirs, and my favorite song, “No One’s Little Girl”, is track one, side one of that very album. The lyrics are exactly the kind that build a solid break up anthem, the kind that marries a defiant “You can’t fire me, I quit!” sentiment with a Notorious B.I.G. “I don’t chase ‘em, I replace ‘em” type nonchalance. Ana’s vocals are really soft and half spoken, all her threats and asides sung under her breath. What really arrests me, though, is the violin. Melodically shrill, the simple tune repeated throughout will not leave your head for days, or maybe ever.
In the summer of 1993, Kurt Cobain wrote some very nice words about the band, something that I feel describes the feeling gained from their catalogue pretty accurately:
“When I listen to The Raincoats I feel as if I'm a stowaway in an attic, violating and in the dark. Rather than listening to them I feel like I'm listening in on them. We're together in the same old house and I have to be completely still or they will hear me spying from above and, if I get caught - everything will be ruined because it's their thing. They're playing their music for themselves. It's not as sacred as wire-tapping a Buddhist monk's telephone or something because if The Raincoats did catch me, they would probably just ask me if I wanted some tea. I would comply, then they would finish playing their songs and I would say thank you very much for making me feel good."
If you find yourself sans attic or opportunity to actually spy on the girls (who are still a band, by the way,) 3 am on a Sunday morning, winding down after a wine hazy night of listening to records and making prank phone calls with your best friends is a pretty ideal time to absorb their music.